Authorities Discover Covert Chinese-linked Biotech Lab in California

Authorities revealed that after conducting a lengthy investigation, they discovered a covert biotech lab containing almost 1,000 mice and 20 potentially infectious agents.

Both local and federal officials confirmed the findings.

In , Fresno County authorities uncovered an “unlicensed laboratory” concealed within a warehouse. The clandestine lab was owned by Prestige BioTech, a company registered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

According to Prestige BioTech, they relocated assets to the warehouse from the now-dissolved Universal Meditech Inc. (UMI).

According to reports, on March 3, a code enforcement officer observed a garden hose attached and emerging from a wall at the rear of the warehouse.

Reedley City Manager Nicole Zieba said, “We were well aware that it shouldn’t have been there, and upon investigation, we discovered some activity or operation taking place inside that building.”

On March 16, the Fresno County Public Health Department executed search warrants and made the startling discovery.

According to court documents, “Certain rooms of the warehouse were found to contain several vessels of liquid and various apparatus. Fresno County Public Health staff also observed blood, tissue and other bodily fluid samples and serums and thousands of vials of unlabeled fluids and suspected biological material.”

According to Fresno County Public Health Department assistant director Joe Prado, there were “over 800 different chemicals on site in different bottles of different acids.”

Prado added, “Unfortunately, a lot of these are being categorized under unknown chemicals.”

Prado also disclosed, “There were some laboratory mice on-site at this location. What we heard from the business owner was that they were doing some type of testing with those mice to see whether or not their COVID test kits were actually effective in detecting COVID. So, that was one example of what they shared with the purpose of the laboratory mice being on-site.”

As reported by KFSN-TV, during the investigation, health officials discovered that the companies Prestige Biotech and Universal Meditech had refrigerators containing various chemicals, human blood, illegal COVID and pregnancy tests and nearly 1,000 mice.

According to a Health and Human Services letter dated June 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted tests and identified at least 20 potentially infectious agents in the laboratory, including coronavirus, HIV, hepatitis and herpes.

KTLA, referring to court documents, reported that the warehouse contained “20 potentially infectious viral, bacterial and parasitic agents.” E. Coli, malaria and even COVID were discovered within the makeshift lab.

Officials confirmed that all hazardous materials were successfully removed from the warehouse by July 7.

City officials reached out to Xiuquin Yao, the president of Prestige Biotech.

According to NBC News, Yao informed officials that Prestige BioTech relocated assets from a defunct company, Universal Meditech Inc., to the Reedley warehouse from Fresno after UMI ceased operations. Court documents indicate that Prestige Biotech was a creditor to UMI and identified as its successor.

Federal agents are currently conducting an ongoing criminal investigation.