The biolab in question is located in Reedley, Calif., and is run by a Chinese man connected to Beijing's communist government. And while the FBI and CDC would normally investigate such matters once they come to light, the two federal agencies did no such thing concerning this particular biolab.
"This report outlines troublesome gaps that exist in federal law that allow bad actors to take advantage of the system," said Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.), whose district includes Reedley, in a statement. "It is my hope no other town in any congressional district will endure what my constituents have through this experience."
(Related: Did you know that Gov. Gavin Newsom used taxpayer money to fund Chinese-backed biolabs in California?)
The scandal began last December when Jesalyn Harper, a local code enforcement officer in Reedley, noticed a building code violation on the outside of the facility. After gaining access to the facility, Harper discovered that the warehouse was actually a biolab being run by Chinese nationals.
Inside the lab, Harper found vials containing various biological substances, one of which was HIV, labeled in both English and Mandarin, as well as an undeciphered code. There were also 1,000 genetically modified (GMO) lab mice inside the facility that were "bred to simulate the human immune system for the purpose of laboratory experimentation."
Following her discovery and walkthrough, Harper referred the matter to both Fresno County and the FBI for further investigation. Just two months later, Harper received a notice from the FBI that it had closed the inquiry "because the Bureau believed that there were no weapons of mass destruction on the property" – case closed.
While the FBI did say that it would continue to "engage with local officials" about the matter, Harper and other local officials were unsatisfied with this response, and proceeded to continue their own investigation.
A warrant was obtained and the lab, known officially as the Reedley Biolab, was searched on March 16 of this year. Searchers "observed blood, tissue, and other bodily fluid samples and serums; and thousands of vials of unlabeled fluids and suspected biological material."
Also discovered inside the Reedley Biolab were "infectious agents" that were "labeled with biohazard signs," as well as medicine cabinets full of "what authorities later identified as highly flammable, explosive, and corrosive chemicals."
Subsequent inspections of the facility took place on April 21 and May 1-2, respectively.
Universal Meditech Inc. (UMI), a company controlled by "Jesse" Zhu, a Chinese national," was later discovered to be the owner of Reedley Biolab. "Jesse" is said to be directly associated with other People's Republic of China-linked companies, and is currently wanted in Canada for "contempt of court, where he is the subject of a CAD$330 million judgment for stealing American intellectual property."
Fresno County officials spent "months," they say, trying to contact the CDC about all this, only to have the federal agency refuse to speak with them, "and, on a number of occasions ... hung up on them mid-conversation."
"The CDC’s refusal to test any potential pathogens with the understanding that local officials would otherwise have to destroy the samples through an abatement process makes it impossible for the Select Committee to fully assess the potential risks that this specific facility posed to the community," the concluding report states.
The latest news about Chinese biolabs operating on U.S. soil can be found at CommunistChina.news.
Sources for this article include: