Canadian fined $500 for trying to sneak biological material into U.S.
A former vaccine researcher charged with trying to smuggle biological material from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg pleaded guilty in a U.S. courtroom Friday.
A federal court in Grand Forks, N.D., sentenced Konan Michael Yao, 42, to 17 days in jail — with credit for 17 days already served — and ordered him to pay a $500 fine for failure to present merchandise for inspection.
He had told border guards he was starting a new job in the U.S. and didn't want to start his research into Ebola and HIV viruses all over again.
Yao, a former employee at the lab, was apprehended at the Manitoba-North Dakota border on May 5.
When border guards in Pembina, N.D., opened the trunk of his vehicle, they found 22 vials wrapped in aluminum foil in a plastic bag.
U.S. authorities said the biological material was not infectious, but they did not reveal exactly what the vials contained.
Yao took the vials from the Winnipeg lab on his last day of work, according to court documents.