Man arrested and charged with running back-room medical clinics


August 28, 1999

TUSTIN -- A man who allegedly helped run a family business of back-room medical clinics was arrested after he, his mother and sister were charged in connection with the sale of banned Mexican pharmaceuticals.

Oscar King, 36, was arrested late Friday but was named in charges filed Thursday along with Rosa Maria King, 68, and Rosa Alexandria King, 41. Both women are believed to have fled to Mexico, authorities said.

All three face multiple misdemeanor counts, which investigators said are the most severe charges they could file under current law.

The move brings to five the number of family members charged in the case.

The family was allegedly running the unlicensed medical clinic operating out of a back room of Oscar King's Tustin gift shop, where earlier this year an 18-month-old girl was treated just hours before she died.

Police Lt. Mike Shanahan said the family grew rich by supplying banned drugs to Hispanic immigrants in need of medical treatment.

"If the King family was dealing in heroin, or cocaine or methamphetamines, and distributing them ... we would have no trouble looking at them as significant criminals in our society," he said.

Oscar King was taken into custody after officers staked out a McDonald's in Chula Vista where he and his estranged wife typically meet to swap custody of their children, Shanahan said. He remained at Orange County Jail on $50,000 bail Saturday, authorities said.

Court records show Rosa Maria King, the matriarch of the family, as the owner of another gift shop in Santa Ana where undercover officers last month bought illegal pharmaceuticals from Sylvia King Fernandez, another one of her daughters.

Fernandez, 43, was charged with selling misbranded drugs in July.

A fifth member of the family, Laura Escalante, 37, was charged last month with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 18-month-old Selena Segura Rios. Escalante, known to patients as "Dr. Laura," supervised the toddler's treatment, police alleged in court papers.

Investigators believe that Escalante and the other family members abruptly left their jobs and homes and fled to Mexico.

Carlos King, who operates a dentistry next-door to his mother's gift shop, confirmed police suspicions that both Rosa Kings -- his mother and his sister -- moved to Tijuana.

Rosa Alexandria King's attorney, Mark Fredrick, said his client is due back in the United States in about a week and a half. He declined to comment on the charges until he had spoken to her.

According to a search warrant filed by investigators, some members of the King family have extensive records of selling or trying to smuggle illegal pharmaceuticals into the country.