Washington man who injected people with unproven COVID-19 vaccine arrested

(NYDAILYNEWS) – A Washington entrepreneur who branded himself a biotech expert and sold an alleged COVID-19 “vaccine” he created in his personal lab has been arrested.

Johnny Stine, 56, has been charged with introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce after he advertised his concoction for between $400 and $1,000, according to the Department of Justice.

“Untested, untried and potentially unsafe — this defendant was injecting people with an unknown substance claiming it was a vaccine for COVID-19,” U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran said in a statement. “Preying on our fears in the midst of this pandemic is unconscionable.”
An investigator with the Food and Drug Administration first approached Stine while undercover in early March, just as the pandemic was starting in the U.S. Stine told the agent that he had a vaccine to attack cancer tumors, a formula he had altered to fight COVID-19, and offered to sell him a dose.

The FDA continued meeting with Stine while undercover into April, at which point the entrepreneur offered to travel to Oregon and California to vaccinate family members of the undercover agents, according to the DOJ.

The Washington State Attorney General issued a cease and desist letter to Stine in late April, but Stine refused and continued selling the vaccine, which he now referred to as an immunogen, telling him to stop making claims and offering his “vaccine” for COVID-19.

In June, Stine and the AG agreed that he would not promote or sell his COVID-19 vaccine, but Stine almost immediately broke that agreement, traveling to Idaho in August to “vaccinate” another undercover agent, according to the DOJ. Authorities then seized Stine’s “vaccine” and raided his warehouse in Redmond, Wash.

At least one person that Stine injected with his fake vaccine has been hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the DOJ.

“The very idea that someone would prey upon fearful people seeking a COVID vaccine in the midst of a global pandemic is not only despicable, but potentially deadly behavior,” Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in the Pacific Northwest, said in a statement.

“Snake oil salesmen, such as this, who endanger consumers should take this arrest as a stern warning. HSI, along with our law enforcement partners, remain dedicated to protecting the community from these criminals and the dangerous substances they sell.”

During the investigation, officials also discovered that Stine was allegedly selling untested “vaccines” to cancer patients to battle their malignant tumors.

If convicted, Stine faces up to one year in prison.

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