Date: July 30, 2023   Updated: November 21, 2023
A shady Chinese BIO lab with hazardous pathogens busted in a south
California warehouse on March 3, 2023. Finally, on 2023.10.19, Mr.
'Qiang He', aka Jia Bei Zhu, aka Jesse Zhu, aka David He, was arrested
California and federal authorities shut down an illegal medical lab in a
warehouse in Reedley, southeast of Fresno. They found nearly a thousand
genetically altered laboratory mice in a room, lots of unknown
chemicals, refrigerators and freezers (some of which are not working),
vials of unlabeled fluids and bio-hazardous materials, including
blood, incubators, and many infectious agents, including SARS-CoV-2,
HIV, MALARIA, RUBELLA and HERPES virus.
A local code enforcement officer noticed that a garden hose was
illegally attached to the back of the building. That eventually led to
a search and inspection of the warehouse on March 3, 2023.
The mice were kept in inhumane conditions. More than 175 were found
dead, and the city euthanized 773 in April 2023. Substances collected
from the lab were given to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention for testing. The agency detected at least 20 potentially
All the biologic agents had been destroyed as of July 7, 2023. Although
officials were still working on removing equipment from the warehouse,
they maintained that there is "nothing hazardous at this point."
A criminal investigation is ongoing, but no charges were filed yet as
of July 30, 2023.
The tenant of the warehouse is listed as Prestige Biotech, Inc (PBI) and
the company's president is Xiuquin Yao. Based on his name, Xiuquin Yao
is most likely ethnically related to China.
Summarize up the available information:
Universal Meditech Inc (UMI) was launched as a biotech startup in
2019, like most other high-tech startups, without a lot of money. It
focused on pathogens, COVID-19 and Pregnancy Test kits. They were
operating in Fresno, California.
In 2020, UMI put out a rapid test kit for COVID-19 without proper
review or emergency authorization. Those were recalled due to FDA
UMI went bankrupt, assets were acquired by the holding company and
creditor PBI, a company registered in Nevada, which is one of the
original investor and a creditor to UMI.
UMI got evicted from their Fresno lab.
PBI, the new owner, haphazardly moved everything into a nearby warehouse
in Reedley. They moved all the biologic agents, genetically modified
mice, and lab equipment there. PBI was identified as a renter of the
warehouse. They were not the owner.
PBI did not have any licensing or permit to operate a laboratory at
the warehouse. They probably do not have the knowledge and skill to do
so anyway. Although news articles included a picture of an unrelated,
messy, functioning lab in their coverage to make it look like PBI was
running a lab there.
PBI was trying to salvage whatever was left from UMI. They probably
intended to sell the operation to some other biotech company. The mice
were likely one of the most valuable assets of the company. Those mice
could cost close to a thousand dollar a piece dependent on age, sex
and conditions. Those are obtainable from certain specialized supplier.
Different from a self-storage unit, a warehouse must have toilet and
water supply as people need to wash their hands from time to time. The
owner obviously did not pay the water bill and the city cut off water
supply a while back. When they rented the unit out, they needed to
provide water to the tenant. Perhaps it will take a while to apply for
water connection again, and PBI had to keep the mice alive.
Probably, the owner drilled a hole in the wall and ran an
illegal hose into the building to arrange temporary
water supply from a
neighboring unit. It is very doubtful that the renter will do that
without the consent of the owner.
The hose caught the attention of code enforcement and led to the
California City officials spoke with Xiuquin Yao, the company president
of PBI, through emails. A criminal investigation is ongoing, but no
charges were filed yet as of July 30, 2023.
One of the original news articles made it sound like the warehouse does
not even have toilet and sewage, which does not make much sense. It also
included a picture of an unrelated messy functioning lab, to make it
look and sound like people were working inside in a very untidy,
insanitary condition, dealing with dangerous bio-agents. Fed by all this
misinformation, online communities were full of comments about the
Chinese government running a clandestine biolab in the US with nefarious
intentions. Everyone reading it raised the angry question of "Why would
the government not file a charge against anyone yet".
There is more to it than meets the eye
According to RedState.com on August 6, 2023:
The Reedley facility was leased by Prestige Biotech, Inc (PBI) and
Universal Meditech, Inc. (UMI), a company that has operated in
California since at least 2015.
The recalled 56,000 COVID-19 rapid test kits in 2020 were not actually
manufactured by UMI. They were just one of the distributors. Another
one was SML Distribution LLC.
UMI received a 3-year California Competes Tax Credit in 2019. A
document released on March 24, 2019, indicated that a California
Competes Tax Credit of $360,000 was allocated to UMI.
UMI also received a $74,912 loan from the Paycheck Protection Program on
April 27, 2020. The loan amount forgiven was $75,788.
UMI received a second $74,912 loan from the Paycheck Protection
Program on February 2, 2021. The loan amount forgiven was $75,630.
For both applications, the company provided its address as 1320 E.
Fortune Avenue, Fresno, California, a site that caught fire in August
At least 7 corporations in Nevada, California, Colorado, and Canada are
related to the owners and officers of UMI and PBI.
Out of this myriad web of corporations, there was a Mr. 'Qiang He', who
was listed as a Member of Advance Meditech LLC, had shown an address in
Chengde, Hebei, China. Advance Meditech LLC was incorporated on 5 April
2013 and the dissolution date was 1 July 2019.
Records showed that Mr. 'Qiang He' has a history of operating companies
in Canada engaging in cattle-related business. There was a $330 million
judgment outstanding against him.
It is known that people have been criminally charged for PPP fraud by
setting up shell corporations during the pandemic.
PBI representative originally claimed that UMI went into bankruptcy, and
as the largest creditor, PBI inherited its assets and moved them to the
Reedley warehouse for storage. However, no bankruptcy filings have been
found after exhaustive search.
There were records of litigation between UMI and Sensiva Health, and
Valor Distribution, both are involved in the distribution of COVID-19
test kits. UMI is also being sued by its former attorney, its former
Realtor, and its former landlord for unpaid bills.
According to an Associated Press article dated August 9th 2023:
The code enforcement officer of Reedley noticed a foul smell and saw a
garden hose snaking into the old warehouse. A woman in a lab coat answered
her knock, and behind her were two others in plastic gloves and blue
surgical masks, packing pregnancy tests for shipping. They spoke broken
English and told the officer they were from China. The women said the
owner lived in China, provided a phone number and email address.
The code enforcement officer contacted Fresno County health officials
and then the FBI.
Investigations launched by federal, state and local authorities found no
criminal activity at the medical lab. The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention said there was no sign the lab was illegally in
possession of the materials or had agents or toxins that could be
used as bioweapons. CDC has taken no further action in this matter.
City and county officials got a court order to shut down the operation,
euthanized the mice and cleaned the biological materials.
Reedley's authorities hired Nina Hahn, a veterinarian formerly contracted
by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to examine the mice. Hahn
found they had not been injected with any infectious agent and were
simply used to grow COVID-19 antibody cells to make testing kits. She
also determined they were not subject to experimentation.
The California's Department of Toxic Substances Control checked the air
and water and found no threat.
More questions than answers
- Are they hiring in the warehouse "undocumented workers"
who "spoke broken English and said they were from China"?
With the current employment situation, who would want to work in a
smelly old warehouse right next to a bunch of rotten dead mice?
Did Immigration and Customs Enforcement get involved?
According to RedState.com, UMI and PBI were not the
manufacturer of the test kits. Obviously, they were not running
a biolab there. They were just a packaging factory. The question
is where do they get those things from?
Who and where are they shipping those pregnancy test kits to? Are they
authorized to do so? Or would those be subject to recall again?
Looks like it is more of a shady business operation than
a clandestine biolab run by China in the US with nefarious
We will have to wait for someone to investigate PBI, UMI and their
officers' tax returns to find out what really happened behind the scene.
The Speaker of the US House of Representatives called for an investigation into
On 2023.10.19, Mr. 'Qiang He', aka Jia Bei Zhu, aka Jesse Zhu,
aka David He, was arrested and charged with manufacturing and
distributing misbranded medical devices and for making false
statements to the Food and Drug Administration.
According to court documents, between December 2020 and March 2023, Mr.
'Qiang He' and others manufactured, imported, sold, and distributed
hundreds of thousands of test kits for COVID-19, HIV, pregnancy,
clinical urinalysis in the United States.
They did so through UMI and PBI. They did not obtain the required
authorizations to manufacture and distribute the test kits and
mislabeled some of the test kits. When questioned by FDA officials,
Mr. 'Qiang He' made false statements about his identity, his ownership
and control of UMI and PBI, and the activities of UMI and PBI.
UMI first registered as a medical device manufacturer with the FDA in
November 2015. Its registration lapsed in 2022, and it is no longer
permitted to manufacture or import any in vitro diagnostic test kits.
Any test kits that the company manufactured or imported after that date
are considered misbranded medical devices.
UMI applied for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA for
its COVID-19 test kits, but never received it due to major deficiencies
in its test studies. Therefore, any such test kits would be misbranded
If convicted, Mr. 'Qiang He' faces a penalty of three years in prison
for the misbranding of medical devices charge, and five years in prison
for the false statements charge.
Sounds like someone who tried to make a quick buck by taking
advantage of the pandemic and skirting the laws was finally busted.
Any attempt by various websites to tie the operation to Chinese
Bio-weapons program were perhaps a little bit farfetched.