SEATTLE (NEXSTAR) – A Washington state entrepreneur who describes himself as a biotech executive was arrested last week after prosecutors say he used social media to peddle untested, injectable COVID-19 “vaccines” on social media.
Johnny T. Stine, 55, who claims to be the founder and president of a company called North Coast Biologics, faces misdemeanor federal charges of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.
“Snake oil salesmen, such as this, who endanger consumers should take this arrest as a stern warning,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in the Pacific Northwest.
Stine is accused of injecting people with what he claimed to be a COVID-19 vaccine that he sold on Facebook for $400-$1,000 per dose.
“Untested, untried and potentially unsafe – this defendant was injecting people with an unknown substance claiming it was a vaccine for COVID-19,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. “Preying on our fears in the midst of this pandemic is unconscionable. DOJ continues to investigate and prosecute these fraud cases.”
The Food and Drug Administration’s criminal investigators started tracking Stine’s actions in March of 2020 after learning of his social media activity.
In May, FDA officials sent Stine a warning letter citing several of his social media conversations.
In one such exchange on March, 21, the FDA says Stine posted on Facebook, “Just vaccinated 12 people in west Seattle tonight . . . 12 more to vaccinate in Burien . . . off to Anchorage and PHX next.” In January of 2021, one of the recipients of the “vaccine” was hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Washington.
It’s not clear how many people Stine injected with his concoction, which he rebranded as an “immunogen” after the Washington State Attorney General sent him a cease and desist letter in late April. According to the release, he told one undercover agent in April that he had traveled across the U.S. administering the doses, and, in August, went to Idaho to “vaccinate” an undercover agent.
After officers seized Stine’s “vaccine” in Idaho, a search of North Coast Biologic’s research site, a warehouse in Redmond, Washington revealed that he was also allegedly selling untested treatments to cancer patients.
“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,” Hammer said in the release. “Equally appalling is the exploitation of vulnerable cancer patients and their families, desperate for treatment.”