Fresno County, California, “will receive a $125,000 settlement from the owner of the building where an illegal biological lab with links to China” was recently uncovered in the city of Reedley. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed a cleanup of “hazardous chemicals” on the property, a dangerous site not detected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

In late 2022, Reedley code inspector Jesalyn Harper spotted a hose leading into a warehouse that had been vacant for more than a decade. Inside, Harper found three women who identified themselves as People’s Republic of China (PRC) nationals wearing masks, glasses and latex gloves. Local officials also found nearly 1,000 bio-engineered mice, vials of blood, and samples of infectious diseases including malaria, E. coli, chlamydia, and COVID. The covert lab operated multiple freezers and refrigerators and housed highly flammable chemicals.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who locked down the state during the COVID pandemic, made no official statement at the time, and, according to local reporters, the governor’s office and state Department of Public Health were evasive. The biolab came to the attention of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, and one of California’s representatives, Jim Costa, wrote the foreword to the committee’s report, which was released last November.

The illegal biolab, the committee found, “was run by a PRC citizen who is a wanted fugitive from Canada with a $330 million Canadian dollar judgment against him for stealing American intellectual property.” That citizen “was a top official at a PRC-state-controlled company and had links to military-civil fusion entities.”

The illegal biolab also “received millions of dollars in unexplained payments from PRC banks while running.” It “contained thousands of samples of labeled, unlabeled, and encoded potential pathogens, including HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and Covid,” and “a freezer labeled ‘Ebola.’” After contact by local officials, “the CDC refused to test any of the samples.”

The CDC disputed the “false implication that CDC had the authority to unilaterally investigate or seize samples” from the illegal biolab in Reedley, claiming that it “continues to be ... actively engaged, within its regulatory authorities, in the intergovernmental efforts to address issues surrounding the facility.”

Prestige Biotech, operator of the lab, was the successor of Universal Meditech, which in 2019 received a tax credit of $360,000 from Newsom’s Office of Business and Economic Development. That revelation brought no official statement from the governor, but last August, California Attorney General Rob Bonta did break silence on the Reedley lab.

“I think it’s still emerging at this point,” Bonta told reporters. “So as we learn more, we’ll be able to get our arms around the fact to determine if there’s any criminal violation.” So far Bonta hasn’t found any, but last month he announced a $5 million settlement with Quest Diagnostics, which “unlawfully disposed of hazardous waste, medical waste, and protected health information at its facilities statewide.”

The illegal Chinese biolab in Reedley was much more hazardous, and last year Bonta said there were “likely more that exist or existed.” He could be on to something.

The illegal facility was uncovered by the California’s Department of Public Health, the CDC, and the CDC’s vaunted Epidemic Intelligence Service, tasked to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. So far there’s been no word from the EIS, which also failed to prevent the COVID virus from arriving stateside from China. Maybe the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party could look into it.

If Jesalyn Harper had not spotted that hose, the Reedley lab could still be harboring dangerous pathogens and a freezer marked “Ebola,” which is, as the Select Committee on the CCP warned, a “Select Agent with a lethality rate between 25-90%.” California failed the lab test, and the rest of the nation should be on full alert. As the committee’s report concluded:

At a minimum, the Reedley lab shows the profound threat that unlicensed and unknown biolabs pose to our country. At worst, this investigation revealed significant gaps in our nation’s defenses and significant pathogen-related regulations that present a grave national security risk that could be exploited in the future. It is therefore incumbent upon Congress and the Executive Branch to address these vulnerabilities before it is too late.