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A researcher at the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg is facing charges in the United States after allegedly trying to smuggle unidentified biological material across the Manitoba-North Dakota border.
U.S. authorities allege Konan Michel Yao had 22 vials of an unidentified substance in the trunk of his car when he tried to cross the border on May 5. He is charged with smuggling merchandise.
U.S. customs officers allegedly found the vials wrapped in aluminum foil inside a glove and packaged in a plastic bag, along with electrical wires.
Originally posted by Albertarocks
I'll bet my bottom dollar that his guy is not a Canadian national.
Health officials are reviewing security at Winnipeg's National Microbiology Lab after a former researcher was caught allegedly trying to smuggle biological material into the United States.
"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.
WINNIPEG — It's the federally appointed watchdog that's supposed to stand guard on behalf of the community which is home to the National Microbiology lab.
But the local community liaison committee says a major security breach inside the facility containing the world's deadliest pathogens is nothing to bark at.
Members of the committee met with scientific director Dr. Frank Plummer and a communications official from the lab on Friday to probe how a former Winnipeg researcher was able to walk out of the lab with 22 vials of biological material in January. Some of the vials included genes from the deadly Ebola virus.
Canadian researcher pleads guilty to attempted smuggling
A Canadian vaccine researcher accused of smuggling genetic material from the Ebola virus into the United States has pleaded guilty.
Konan Michel Yao was sentenced to 17 days in jail and fined $500 Friday in federal court. He pleaded guilty to failure to present merchandise for inspection and was placed in custody of U.S. Customs.
Authorities say Yao was on arrested May 5 for trying to sneak 22 vials of the biological substance into the country at the Pembina port of entry in North Dakota.
Court documents showed Yao took the vials on his last day of work at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, so he wouldn't have to start over on his research.
The 42-year-old Yao had been working on a vaccine for the Ebola virus and HIV.