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Friday, May 11, 2012

Business Owners/Operators Charged with Illegal Practice of Medicine

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Carmen Trutancih, L...
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: Carmen Trutancih, Los Angeles City Attorney, speaks during a news conference standabout members and associates of alleged 'Black P-Stone Bloods' gang members who were arrested at Jim Gilliam Recreation Center on May 18, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Most of the gang were arrested in predawn raids in South Los Angeles by a multiagency task force. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Carmen Trutanich
Carmen Trutanich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich announced his office’s Consumer Protection Section today filed criminal charges against the owners and operators of multiple businesses for practicing medicine without a license and illegally selling dangerous drugs. Assistant City Attorney Don Kass, Supervisor of the City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Section, is prosecuting the cases. The criminal cases were investigated by the Health Authority Law Enforcement Taskforce (HALT), which includes officers from LAPD and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Environmental Health Specialists and a Pharmacist from LA County Department of Health Services. “The unlicensed practice of medicine and dispensing of medicines and illicit drugs poses a serious threat to our most vulnerable residents, especially the elderly and young children,” said City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich. “These threats to public health and safety and to our children should not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” HALT investigators received information that a mother and her adult son were hospitalized as a result of receiving injections of a penicillin-eucalyptus mixture at one of the Defendants' businesses. The two victims went to Excellent Nutrition (1828 W. James Wood Boulevard) on January 29, 2010, complaining of flu-like symptoms. Defendant Miguel Juarez allegedly prescribed a shot of a penicillin/eucalyptus mixture and directed the victims to a back room, where Defendant Reina Delgado Alvarado allegedly administered the shot. The mother suffered a severe allergic reaction almost immediately, experiencing difficulty breathing and tremors. Rather than calling an ambulance, Defendant Rosaura Juarez allegedly drove the victim to the hospital. The son was admitted to the hospital five days later after experiencing chronic abdominal pain and vomiting. Based upon this information, HALT set up surveillance and made undercover buys in order to obtain search and arrest warrants. The search warrants were executed at Excellent Nutrition, J&R Beauty Supply (1826 W. James Wood Boulevard), Vitamin Zone (730 S. Alvarado, Space #7), and Good Nutrition (4632 Santa Monica Boulevard, Space #63) and at the owners' residences. Hundreds of drugs, including controlled substances, and a large amount of cash were seized. Approximately two months later, HALT rearrested Miguel Juarez, Maria Guadalupe Cruz-Valencia, and Gregoria Ortega after receiving information that they were continuing to sell dangerous drugs at J&R Beauty Supply. The Defendants and charges are as follows: Miguel Juarez, 27, is charged with five counts of illegally selling dangerous drugs, and three counts of practicing medicine without a license. Araceli Ramirez,53, co-owner of Excellent Nutrition, J&R Beauty Supply and Vitamin Zone is charged with 13 counts of illegally selling dangerous drugs, and eight counts of practicing medicine without a license. Miguel Angel Dominguez, 55, co-owner of Excellent Nutrition, J&R Beauty Supply and Vitamin Zone is charged with 13 counts of illegally selling dangerous drugs, and eight counts of practicing medicine without a license. Defendant Dominguez was previously convicted by the City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Section in 2003 of illegally selling dangerous drugs. Rosaura Juarez, 25, the daughter of the owners of Excellent Nutrition, J&R Beauty Supply and Vitamin Zone, is charged with three counts of illegally selling dangerous drugs, and two counts of practicing medicine without a license. Reina Delgado Alvarado, 28, the former employee who allegedly administered the injections to the victims, is charged with four counts of illegally selling dangerous drugs, and two counts of practicing medicine without a license. Bernice Melanie Guzman, 19, is charged with two counts of illegally selling dangerous drugs, and one count of practicing medicine without a license. Maria Guadalupe Cruz-Valencia, 34, is charged with three counts of illegally selling dangerous drugs, and two counts of practicing medicine without a license. Gregoria Ortega, 45, is charged with two counts of illegally selling dangerous drugs, and one count of practicing medicine without a license. Alma Rosa Garcia, 50, is charged with one count of illegally selling dangerous drugs, and one count of practicing medicine without a license. Each violation of illegally selling dangerous drugs carries a potential maximum sentence of one year in county jail and/or $5,000 fine. Each violation of practicing medicine without a license carries a potential maximum sentence of one year in county jail and/or $10,000 fine. The arraignment for each of the defendants is scheduled for June 14, 2012 in Department 81 of the Los Angeles Superior Court.
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