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Stolen Truck Carrying Radioactive Material Found

Stolen Truck Carrying Radioactive Material Found

12/06/2013

A truck known to be carrying radioactive material was discovered on Wednesday after it was reported stolen earlier in the week.

Truck Carrying Radioactive Material Found

The Volkswagen truck was found near the location of the gas station from which it was stolen in an empty lot near Hueypoxtla, Mexico, reported Fox News. Although the town boasts a population of roughly 4,000, none of the residents have been placed in any danger. “Fortunately, there are no people where the source of radioactivity is,” said Juan Eibenschutz, the director general of the National Commission of Nuclear Safety and Safeguards.

Dangers Of Cobalt-60

While the cobalt-60 isn’t dangerous to humans if they are at least 500 yards away, direct exposure to the substance could cause death in just a few minutes. The amount of cobalt in the stolen truck was the largest amount that had been stolen in a considerable amount of time, leading law enforcement to issue alerts.

Although cobalt-60 can be used in the creation of dirty bombs, Eibenschutz believes the carjackers were simply after the vehicle that was transporting it – having no knowledge of the material within. The truck's driver, Valentin Escamilla Ortiz, had been transporting the cargo to a storage facility when the two men held him up at gunpoint as he slept in the cabin.

Thieves Likely Dead

It is believed that the thieves, who have yet to be located or identified, came into contact with the substance and inadvertently injured themselves. According to Eibenschutz, there’s a reasonable chance that they have died as a result.

Officials have cordoned off the lot where the truck was left. No one will approach it until tests have ruled out any potential dangers.

– Chelsea Regan

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Read more: Colbalt-60, Thefts, Radiation, Mexico

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