Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Scientist arrested for smuggling vials used in Ebola research into US
05-15-2009, 12:01 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-15-2009, 12:02 PM by ---.)
#1
Scientist arrested for smuggling vials used in Ebola research into US
A Canadian scientist has been arrested for smuggling 22 vials stolen from Canada's National Microbiology Lab, used in Ebola and HIV research, into the United States, Canadian and US officials said Wednesday.

Konan Michel Yao, 42, "was taken into custody" while crossing the border from Manitoba province into the western US state of North Dakota on May 5, said a spokeswoman for the Public Health Agency of Canada, which operates the lab.

According to US prosecutor Lynn Jordheim, Yao was detained for carrying unidentified biological materials in vials wrapped in aluminium foil inside a glove and packaged in a plastic bag, along with electrical wires, in the trunk of his car.

Yao said in an affidavit he stole the vials, described as research vectors, from the Winnipeg lab on his last day of work there on January 21.

He told US border guards he was taking them to his new job with the National Institutes of Health at the Biodefense Research Laboratory in Bethesda, Maryland.

US authorities feared their contents could pose a terrorist threat. But tests later showed "they are not hazardous," said Jordheim.

"This turned out not to be a terrorism-related case," he said by telephone from North Dakota. "It appears to be exactly as he (Yao) said. However, he still faces possible charges for smuggling the vials into the United States."

Yao, meanwhile, remains in US custody after waiving his right to bail and preliminary hearings, as he awaits a possible grand jury indictment for smuggling, he said.

A Public Health Agency of Canada spokeswoman told AFP Yao "was working on vaccines for the Ebola virus and HIV, among other things."

"But he only had access to harmless and non-infectious materials, similar to what you'd find in a hospital or university lab. He did not have access to dangerous materials."

The Ivory Coast-born scientist is said to have studied at Laval University in Quebec and briefly worked at the University of Manitoba's plant sciences department.

AP
Quote:Yao worked until recently at Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory, doing research on vaccines for Ebola and HIV. He told U.S. border guards that he was carrying the vials to his new job at the National Institutes of Health. Although the materials in his possession were not infectious, and authorities don't believe it was a case of attempted terrorism, the case is likely to add to concerns about the security of labs that house dangerous pathogens. Yao could face smuggling charges.
Reply
05-15-2009, 01:51 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-15-2009, 01:57 PM by B4Time.)
#2
Scientist arrested for smuggling vials used in Ebola research into US
do you have a link to this nik thanks


edit:found a link http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CN...;show_article=1
What kills me makes me stronger !

No favor asked no quarter given !

Your sitting in your comfort you don't believe I'm real,
You cannot buy protection from the way that I feel.

Reply
05-15-2009, 02:20 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-15-2009, 02:22 PM by ---.)
#3
Scientist arrested for smuggling vials used in Ebola research into US
http://www.canada.com/Health/Canadian+scie...2691/story.html

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/272598

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/ebo...r-44969902.html

The coverage is a little different in these ones too..

Quote:Local News
Ebola gene theft a shocker
Sparks serious questions about security at city's microbiology lab

By: Jen Skerritt

14/05/2009 1:00 AM | Comments: 6



WINNIPEG – For nearly four months, scientists at Winnipeg's National Microbiology Lab had no idea that a former researcher walked out of the strictly controlled federal facility with 22 vials of stolen biological material -- including vials that contained genes of the lethal Ebola virus.

The theft has sparked controversy and serious questions about security protocols at a lab that contains some of the world's deadliest pathogens.
A court document outlining case.

Enlarge Image Enlarge Image icon

A court document outlining case. (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Related Items

1.
Polls
* Are you confident in the security at the National Microbiology Lab?

Dr. Frank Plummer, the lab's scientific director, said no one knew the vials were missing until May 5 when the RCMP alerted them there had been a theft -- the same day FBI special agents arrested the former Winnipeg researcher as he tried to cross the Manitoba-North Dakota border en route to his new job at a U.S. bio-defence facility in Maryland.

Court documents allege U.S. border officials discovered the stolen vials in the researcher's car trunk, hidden inside a glove wrapped in aluminum foil. The affidavit alleges the researcher said he stole the vials on his last day of work at the federal lab at the end of January so he wouldn't have to start his research again.

FBI special agent E.K. Wilson said federal officials were initially called in to investigate whether the man smuggled the vials for bioterrorism. Documents allege the researcher said he knew he needed special clearance to transport the materials into the U.S., but did not have a permit.

The man worked in the National Microbiology Lab's special pathogens area on a vaccine for the Ebola virus and HIV.

Konan Michel Yao, 42, faces U.S. criminal charges for smuggling and is currently in the custody of a U.S. marshal. Plummer said the individual passed security checks and signed a form that declared he did not steal anything from the lab. He said the stolen material was not infectious and didn't pose any risk to the health of Canadian or American citizens.

The lab will review its security protocols in the wake of the controversy, but Plummer said they follow the same security protocols as their counterparts in the U.S. and elsewhere. He said the matter has been turned over to Winnipeg police, who may decide to also lay charges against the individual.

"We don't search people when they leave the building," Plummer said, during a teleconference from Ottawa. "I don't think that would be appropriate."

"This individual had secret security clearance and we relied on his integrity."

Winnipeg Centre MP Pat Martin said people who live near a facility that contains infectious viruses and disease deserve a clear, transparent explanation on how someone can walk out the door with vials of anything. Martin said the incident is cause for grave concern that no one escorted the researcher out on his last day to check whether he took anything he wasn't supposed to.

"I think it's an indication of a cavalier approach to security of the world's deadliest pathogens," Martin said, during an interview from his Ottawa office. "Whatever the reason, that guy shouldn't have been able to walk out with more than his gym clothes and personal effects."

Plummer said the unusual incident could never happen with viruses contained in Level 3 and 4 labs, where the most virulent, deadly diseases are kept. The researcher didn't have access to those labs, Plummer said, and the lab does routine inventory of vials and who is coming in and out of the Level 3 and 4 areas.

Plummer said the area where the man worked doesn't contain any infectious agents. The lab does not take inventory of the vials in these labs, he said, saying it would be nearly impossible to track the thousands of vials.

The 22 stolen vials are currently being held at the Centers for Disease Control lab in Atlanta, where scientists confirmed the biological materials are not infectious. Although some vials contained Ebola genes, Plummer said the researcher could have only used the material to make a vaccine.

jen.skerritt@freepress.mb.ca


Security scandals

WITH guards, screening and more than 6,700 sensors to pre­vent intruders from getting in, the two security scandals at the federal lab both centre around stuff getting out: Earlier this year, U.S. border officials discovered 22 vials of stolen biological material -- in­cluding vials that contained genes of the lethal Ebola virus -- in a former researcher's car trunk, hidden inside a glove wrapped in aluminum foil. In an affidavit, the researcher said he stole the vials on his last day of work at the federal lab at the end of January, so he wouldn't have to start his research again.

In 1999, the federal lab was criticized after it failed to report an incident in which waste water was accidentally flushed into city sewers before being properly treated. Although officials at the federal laboratory said the leak posed no threat to the public, the lab failed to report the occurrence to city and provincial officials for 24 hours. Area residents waited two weeks before being told of the incident. A month after that incident, lab officials promised to strike a community committee to keep the public better informed of any future mishaps.

* Rate this Rate This Star Icon

We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.
You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.
*
This article has not yet been rated.

Rate it yourself below by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.


This article was first published on winnipegfreepress.com on Wednesday, May 13, 2009. It was last updated at 06:01 AM on May 14, 2009. This is because there was a spelling mistake.
6 Commentscomment icon

Posted by:getreal

May 14, 2009 at 10:24 PM

They found it in a sock wrapped in plastic stuffed in a sock in his trunk. Don't you smell a rat, somebody knew something.

* Report abusive comment

Posted by:Mom3Boys

May 14, 2009 at 6:40 PM

Makes you wonder how many other vials of heaven knows what have been taken. It seems that provided they didn't try to get it over the border, they wouldn't be caught. I would have assumed that to be a researcher there the guy would be of above average intelligence... yet he proved me wrong on a grand scale. Wrapping it in tin foil?? Doh, you think that when they x-ray your vehicle that wouldn't be a BIT of a red flag. I hope that they keep his butt on the U.S. side for the duration of his jail time, we really don't need one more yahoo on this side, we have more than our quota!

* Report abusive comment

Posted by:Avid Reader

May 14, 2009 at 12:21 PM

They check employee's bags and belongings everyday they leave work at places such as Canadian Tire - but they belive they shouldn't be checking employees that work at the virus centre???
Reply
05-16-2009, 02:28 AM,
#4
Scientist arrested for smuggling vials used in Ebola research into US
"Plummer said the area where the man worked doesn't contain any infectious agents. The lab does not take inventory of the vials in these labs, he said, saying it would be nearly impossible to track the thousands of vials."

I thought this is what rfid tags were made for.I guess they want to test them on people first.
What kills me makes me stronger !

No favor asked no quarter given !

Your sitting in your comfort you don't believe I'm real,
You cannot buy protection from the way that I feel.

Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  ISU researcher caught faking AIDS research bristopen 3 351 01-03-2014, 10:19 PM
Last Post: bristopen
  Drug firms 'drove swine flu pandemic warning to recoup £billions spent on research' TriWooOx 0 450 09-26-2012, 07:14 PM
Last Post: TriWooOx
  Man arrested over Nurofen tampering Djones 0 318 09-24-2011, 07:31 PM
Last Post: Djones
  Dr. Jonas Salk, inventor of polio vaccine, exposed as criminal-minded scientist TriWooOx 0 1,194 03-07-2011, 11:41 PM
Last Post: TriWooOx
  Genetically engineered crops: Companies block independent research TriWooOx 0 734 02-23-2011, 09:28 PM
Last Post: TriWooOx
  Couple Pleads For Safe Return Of Laptop Containing Cancer Cure Research drummer 2 690 01-16-2011, 05:57 AM
Last Post: Dunamis
  New research finds some GM corn can cause organ failure yeti 2 744 10-10-2010, 11:29 PM
Last Post: dicktater
  Drug firms hiding negative research are unfit to experiment on people TriWooOx 0 493 08-14-2010, 07:21 PM
Last Post: TriWooOx
  Paracetamol use linked to asthma in teenagers: research TriWooOx 0 466 08-14-2010, 05:51 PM
Last Post: TriWooOx
  Scientist FEAR HyperActive SUN - Solar Wind intensification years ahead mexika 0 542 08-02-2010, 10:45 PM
Last Post: mexika

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)