Local and federal authorities discovered a mysterious lab operating in a warehouse in the city of Reedley, California.
According to NBC News, the Fresno County warehouse housed an “unlicensed laboratory full of lab mice, medical waste and hazardous materials.”
Reedley code enforcement officers first investigated the warehouse in March and suspicious findings led to a multi-agency investigation.
MidValley Times noted:
“It was pretty clear right off the bat that something was going on we didn’t have a business license for,” Reedley City Manager Nicole Zieba said. “They didn’t have any city approvals; that building was supposed to be vacant.”
Zieba said the officers left the property because they did not have a warrant. The suspicious garden hose coupled with numerous building code violations led officers to declare the site unsafe. The city posted “Unsafe to Occupy” signs around the property and ordered individuals on site to leave. They then called the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH).
“That phone call launched an investigation that would eventually involve the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the FBI, the State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the State Department of Health, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and FCDPH, and would lead to the discovery of a lab that had been operating illegally in the city since October 2022,” the outlet noted.
Authorities would eventually test the substances found in the lab and detected “at least 20 potentially infectious agents,” per NBC News.
More from NBC News:
According to court documents, city officials inspected the location at 850 I St. on March 3 for building violations and found various chemicals being stored. On March 16, an inspection by county public health officials allegedly turned up medical devices thought to have been developed on-site, such as Covid and pregnancy tests.
“Certain rooms of the warehouse were found to contain several vessels of liquid and various apparatus,” court documents said. “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.”
Hundreds of mice at the warehouse were kept in inhumane conditions, court documents said. The city took possession of the animals in April, euthanizing 773 of them; more than 175 were found dead.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested the substances and detected at least 20 potentially infectious agents, including coronavirus, HIV, hepatitis and herpes, according to a Health and Human Services letter dated June 6.
The investigation found the tenant was Prestige BioTech, a company registered in Nevada, whose alleged president is Xiuquin Yao.
Was this a secret Chinese lab operating in California?
Just In: A secret Chinese lab operating in California was uncovered after inspectors found a hose going to the “abandoned” building. Inside they were making Covid test, pregnancy test, had vials of blood and the CDC found traces of multiple viruses including Malaria, E. coli,… pic.twitter.com/eofxq6kE2s
— 🇺🇸Travis🇺🇸 (@Travis_in_Flint) July 28, 2023
Mysterious Chinese COVID Lab Uncovered in City of Reedly CA.
— Katy Grimes (@KATYSaccitizen) July 28, 2023
MidValley Times added:
While these investigations were being conducted, Reedley officials and FCDPH repeatedly made attempts to speak to representatives from Prestige. Court documents identify Xiuquin Yao as the alleged president of Prestige. Neither Reedley nor FCDPH was able to obtain from Yao any substantive information regarding Prestige or why infectious agents and mice were being stored at 850 I Street other than to say that the company was developing diagnostic testing kits.Advertisement
Court documents describe Prestige as the successor to Universal Meditech, Inc., a now-bankrupt medical equipment manufacturer located in Fresno. When Universal filed for bankruptcy, Prestige was its largest creditor. It is not clear if Prestige assumed Universal’s liabilities and took over its operation.
Court documents include copies of an email exchange Prado conducted with David He, who identified himself as a representative of Prestige, beginning May 31 and continuing through June 13. Over the course of numerous emails, Prado repeatedly asks He to provide documentation regarding licensed medical waste disposal, Prestige’s reasons for storing infectious agents and how the company will respond to the biological abatement orders handed down by FCDPH.
“They (Prestige) completely avoided the questions,” Prado said. “This individual (He) was either unaware or was intentionally trying to mislead us.”
In what can best be described as a shell game, He initially discounted the veracity of the reports that Prestige was storing infectious agents at 850 I Street. Over the course of the email exchange, He asked for a list of the agents, which Prado submitted each time He requested it. He continued to press Prado to contact Dimensions, a company He claimed was a licensed medical waste hauler. Prado requested documentation that Dimensions was licensed; He abjured.
As of this writing, no one from Prestige has taken responsibility for the contents of the lab.
California Globe asked a few important questions about this extremely strange story:
Why was a Chinese company making COVID-19 tests in California?
Where were these tests to be used? California public health agencies? Medical groups and hospitals?
Is the California Department of Public Health involved?
Who authorized this lab?
What does the Newsom administration know about this?
“All of the biological agents were destroyed by July 7 following a legal abatement process,” NBC News noted.