Mexico Reports 7th Robbery of Radioactive Material in Less Than 3 Years

LAHT — MEXICO CITY – Emergency management officials have issued an alert following the theft of radioactive material in northern Mexico, the Government Secretariat said.

The robbery was the seventh such incident in Mexico in less than three years.

Friday’s alert was directed to state emergency management offices in the northern states of Sonora, Baja California, Sinaloa and Chihuahua and to national security officials, the secretariat said in a bulletin.

The radioactive source, whose theft was initially reported by Ciudad Obregon’s emergency system, is the property of the northwestern state of Sonora’s Road Board, the bulletin said.

It said a container removed from a truck was holding a radioactive source containing isotopes of americium, beryllium and caesium.

The material could “cause permanent injuries to someone who handles it or is in contact with it for a prolonged period of time,” the emergency management officials said.

It would pose a major health risk if extracted from its shielding but is not dangerous otherwise, the bulletin added.

This is the seventh such incident since December 2013, when radioactive material (cobalt-60) intended for medical purposes was stolen during transfer by truck to a radioactive waste storage center.

It was found two days later after an intense search.

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