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Bradenton family may spend life in prison after 'church' sold bleach as COVID-19 cure

Bradenton Herald logo Bradenton Herald 4/24/2021 Ryan Callihan, The Bradenton Herald

Apr. 23—A federal grand jury brought charges against members of a Bradenton family nearly a year after they were arrested for selling bleach that they claimed to be a cure for the COVID-19 virus.

Mark Grenon and his three sons — Jonathan, Jordan and Joseph — face several charges for peddling their "Miracle Mineral Solution" to customers even after the Food and Drug Administration refuted those claims and a court ordered the family to halt sales of the chemicals.

Two of the Grenons, 34-year-old Jonathan and 26-year-old Jordan, were arrested last July when federal agents raided their home on Garden Lane in Bradenton. At that time, federal investigators say they found loaded guns, nearly 10,000 pounds of sodium chlorite powder and thousands of bottles of MMS.

The family members were indicted by a federal grand jury in Miami. Mark, 62, and Joseph, 32, remain in Colombia, where they were detained in August, according to prosecutors.

Court records show that the Grenons made over $1 million selling MMS. On top of marketing it as a cure for COVID-19, the Grenons allegedly pitched the deadly concoction as a cure-all that could remedy a host of medical conditions, such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease and HIV.

The FDA said it received several reports of hospitalizations and life-threatening conditions as people drank MMS. At least seven people died after drinking the chemical mixture, federal prosecutors say.

Prosecutors said they believe the Grenons sold MMS under their "non-religious" Genesis Church of Health and Healing in an effort to bypass government regulation. The FDA has not approved MMS for any sort of medical treatment and advises against drinking it under any circumstance.

The sodium chlorite becomes an industrial bleach when it is mixed with water or ingested. Drinking MMS is the same as drinking an industrial bleach that is used to bleach textiles and paper, the FDA warned. Side effects of drinking bleach include severe vomiting, diarrhea and extremely low blood pressure.

In an earlier civil case, a judge ordered the Grenons to quit selling the dangerous product, but the Grenons ignored the demand, prosecutors said. Instead, the Grenons kept selling MMS and threatened to "pick up guns" and instigate "a Waco," according to court records, referring to the 1993 deadly standoff in Texas between federal agents and David Koresh's Branch Davidian cult.

The Grenons each face one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and two counts of criminal content. If convicted, a judge could sentence them to up to life in prison. Jonathan and Jordan are scheduled to be arraigned in Miami on Monday.

Mark Grenon last year made numerous appeals to former president Donald Trump after legal action was brought against Genesis II, and encouraged the organization's followers to do the same.

In April 2020, Grenon claimed he wrote to the president touting MMS as a treatment for COVID-19. It was just days before the president made controversial remarks about the possibility of injecting disinfectant into COVID-19 patients. The president later claimed the remarks were sarcastically made to reporters, "just to see what would happen."

However, the remarks appeared to encourage Grenon, who promoted Trump's statements as support for MMS.

Staff writer Ryan Ballogg contributed to this story.

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