SEATTLE (AP) — A suburban Seattle man who advertised a supposed COVID-19 “vaccine” he said he created in his personal lab, was arrested Thursday by federal authorities.
Johnny T. Stine, 56, faces a misdemeanor charge of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce in that case and could face up to one year in prison if convicted, KUOW reported. It wasn't immediately known if he has a lawyer to comment on his case.
In March 2020, Stine advertised injections of the supposed vaccine for $400 on his personal Facebook page, according to Brian T. Moran, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington.
Stine wrote on Facebook that it wasn’t the first time he had “crossed some major lines,” adding that he had also created “personalized tumor vaccines for people who wish to actually fight for their life with legitimate tools, knowledge, and skills that I’ve acquired over the years.”
He also faces charges related to peddling those untested drugs, Moran said.
Stine told KUOW in May that he had downloaded the coronavirus’s genome sequences from a Chinese database to create the substance. In that same interview, Stine said he injected himself and several others.
Stine unknowingly made contact with undercover investigators from the the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigation in April, offering to travel to “vaccinate” the agents’ family members, Moran said.
Stine then received a cease and desist from Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Facing a state lawsuit in June, Stine entered a consent decree, under which he agreed to give the names of his buyers, disclose how much he charged them, and repay those who requested refunds. The agreement also imposed a contingency fine of $30,000 for noncompliance.
In August, however, authorities seized Stine’s “vaccine” after he traveled to Idaho to inject an undercover agent with the substance, officials said. Law enforcement also was alerted earlier this month that at least one person Stine injected with his concoction was hospitalized for COVID-19, officials said.