Mexican police say that a stolen truck was found carrying radioactive cargo earlier today. According to ABC News, authorities claim the truck was carrying “extremely dangerous” materials used in medical treatment.
Reuters reported that the truck was found Wednesday close to Mexico City, where it was originally stolen from. The report continued on to say that the truck was originally stolen on Monday while it was taking cobalt-60 from a hospital in the northern city of Tijuana to a radioactive waste-storage center.
“At the time the truck was stolen, the source was properly shielded. However, the source could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding, or if it was damaged,” the IAEA said in the statement according to ABC News.
When the truck was located, The Telegraph states that the radioactive material wasn’t in the truck, but instead found nearby. The report continued on to say that the thieves had removed the material from its case.
Fernando Hidalgo, spokesman for the Hidalgo state prosecutor, said the following in an earlier statement: “Our suspicion is that they had no idea what they had stolen. This is an area where robberies are common.”
Reuters continued saying that the thieves were likely common criminals, completely unaware of the truck’s radioactive cargo. The truck was seized when the driver stopped at a gas station in the town of Temascalapa, which is some 22 miles northeast of Mexico City according to The Telegraph.
ABC News stated that US law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security were fully aware of the theft because the materials were so dangerous. US law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security said earlier this week that they were working closely with Mexican officials.
One US official who was briefed on the situation told ABC News that “border officials were armed with radiation detection devices in the event the person who stole the material tried to cross into the US.”
According to The Telegraph, authorities plan to get the radioactive material into a sealed case as soon as possible, and have said that the surrounding community is not in any danger.
[Image via Shutterstock/Oleksiy Mark]