DOJ Indicts Illegal Alien Running Unlicensed Biolab in California
FAIR Take | November 2023
Mutant mice, biological weapons, and multi-million-dollar fraud make quite the combination. This week in California, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California, indicted a Chinese national on an extensive list of charges. The Chinese citizen, Jia Bei Zhu, was arrested in October on charges that he was running a secret unlicensed biological lab. Investigators found genetically modified mice and medical vials, some of which were labeled “malaria,” “E.coli” and “Ebola.” Zhu gave multiple false names to investigators, and gave false statements about his role at the lab and its activities. To cap it all off, he is a fugitive from Canada, and has previously been implicated in the theft of over $300 million in intellectual property. There are even reports he is linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Indeed, documents in his possession showed he received large unexplained payments from Chinese banks totaling over $1.3 million.
In addition to storing and experimenting with lethal illnesses and mutant mice, Zhu was also cashing in on fake COVID-19 tests. Over the course of three years, Zhu set up multiple companies, including Universal Meditech Incorporated (UMI) and Prestige Biotech Incorporated (PBI), through which he sold hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 test kits to companies throughout the United States. The companies did not obtain pre-market approval, pre-market clearance, or emergency use authorization. There were over 103 million cumulative infections of COVID in the U.S., and over 1 million Americans died of the illness. The use of fake tests certainly put many people at risk of false negatives, as people who were infected would have been given an all-clear only to infect others and potentially cause their deaths. Zhu’s company also imported fake pregnancy tests, potentially leading women who are pregnant to believe they are not and causing them to ignore the drinking and diet precautions that they would take if they knew.
What makes this case particularly terrifying is the proximity of the illegal biolab to a Valley Foods supermarket. Both Ebola and E. coli can be spread through contaminated food, and the thought of mice infected with these killer illnesses getting into a supermarket and potentially contaminating the food supply is a chilling one. Ebola is a devastating illness and causes hemorrhaging internally and externally. E. coli is a serious form of food poisoning that can be especially dangerous in children or older people.
It is not entirely clear yet how Zhu entered the United States. Typically an arrest warrant in Canada would flag anyone trying to cross through a port of entry and trigger further scrutiny by U.S. border agents. However, as tensions between China and the U.S. run high, national security analysts have warned of the danger of open borders and an increasing number of aliens trying to slip into the United States undetected. When asked if it was credible that China could be infiltrating military or intelligence personnel into America via the effectively open Southwest border, security analyst Rebecca Grant told Newsweek “If you’re a bad guy that wants to infiltrate operatives into the U.S.A., the southern border is a pretty easy way to do it.” Other China analysts have argued that the units may have already slipped across the border. The concern was so great that in September 2023, five U.S. Senators sent a letter asking Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to clarify what security measures were in place in response to increased Chinese activity at the U.S. border.
There was an infamous recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa in 2012, killing over 11,000 people. There have already been outbreaks in the U.S., including a leak at a lab near Dulles Airport in 1989 when the lethal Zaire strain, which usually has a 90 percent fatality rate, infected four technicians. Thanks to the actions of the staff, none of the four infected technicians died. The incident inspired the book Outbreak, which later became a movie of the same name. Perhaps one of the main reasons the outbreak did not spread was due to the fact the lab near Dulles was properly licensed and registered. Unfortunately, the Ebola discovered at the Chinese national’s unlicensed lab was no work of fiction, and Americans may have paid a dear price were it not discovered in time. This case demonstrates security failures at multiple levels, but one thing is painfully clear: If we do not secure our borders, the potential outbreak of deadly illness may not be something limited to science fiction movies.