EL CENTRO — A week after two federal agencies raided Vo Medical Clinics in El Centro and Calexico, the doctor and his staff were busy trying to put that behind them to open a new clinic location in Brawley.
Two of Dr. Tien Vo’s medical clinics in El Centro and Calexico were served with federal search warrants and searched Monday, October 5 — with approximately 15 Homeland Security investigators in El Centro — during a joint raid by the Department of Homeland Security and the US Food and Drug Administration, according to multiple local news outlets.
The investigators turned patients away for about five hours as they searched and seized evidence from the Vo Medical Center in El Centro, located at 1590 S. Imperial Avenue, according to KYMA.com. According to Calexico Chronicle, the raid began at about 9 a.m. at the Calexico site and Dr. Vo was seeing patients again by 2 p.m. that day.
Police units from the El Centro and Calexico police departments were on hand as a courtesy to the federal agents. El Centro Police Department Chief Brian Johnson was contacted to confirm this but did not respond by press time.
Though it was not made clear to Vo or the public as to why his clinics were being searched, Kelly Thornton, a spokesperson with the US Attorney’s Office in San Diego, confirmed the warrants were approved as part of an ongoing investigation and no further details were given, according to the Calexico Chronicle. Attempts were made by The Desert Review to contact Thornton, but she was unable to reply by press time.
Vo Medical Center and Dr. Vo posted a public response on Facebook regarding the raids, stating that the raids “caught us all by surprise.”
“There was an alleged allegation (and we don’t know all the details at this time) but after a thorough inspection through the facilities, we were given the green light to operate again on the same day,” the Facebook post reads.
“Thank God everything was fine and that we have no problems re-opening again after lunch break today. Both offices are now back to normal operations. We will continue to see patients, and there is no disruption in care,” Vo wrote.
“Nothing much to say … some rumors make it a big deal, but I don’t want to say much until I find out more info,” Vo said. “I don’t have anything concrete to say so I’d rather say nothing.”
One of Vo’s more publicly known patients, local news and video production man Roy Dorantes, also offered no comment regarding the current situation, though it is documented on Facebook that Dorantes believes Dr. Vo saved his life from COVID-19 when Dorantes had a serious case of the virus in May.
According to previous interviews and videos Dorantes posted on social media outlets, he said Dr. Vo’s care and prayer from a pastor from Hawaii were big parts of how his life was saved in a miraculous way from the virus. Dorantes has also publicized Dr. Vo and his medical team’s charitable works, including Vo's COVID-19 Meals on Wheels, where Vo Centers and volunteers delivered food to locals quarantined due to the pandemic.
Dr. Vo and his wife, physician assistant Venus Nguyen who also sees patients at Vo Medical Centers, said in previous interviews that Vo Medical Centers were one of, if not the first, local medical care center to treat COVID-19 in Imperial County in early March.
“Yes, I will continue to serve. There are lots of bad rumors about me, but I have a lot of support from the community, so I am not to worry,” Vo said.
Vo’s new medical center will be located at the Vons and Rite Aid Shopping Center at 409 W. Main Street in Brawley. The grand opening for the new Vo Medical Center is slated for October 23.
“I need to focus on my new adventure in Brawley,” he said. “One thing I will tell you: I won’t let the Valley down but (I will) bring a high level of medical care to the Valley.”