Since the start of the crisis linked to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, attacks on trucks have increased in this Central American country. Recently, criminals have stolen highly radioactive material commonly used in industrial radiography.
A radioactive x-ray projector in the cargo
Recently, we wondered about the risks that malicious people could try to steal the James Webb Space Telescope, future successor to Hubble. It must be said that it will transit through different countries during its journey between California and French Guyana. However, among these countries is Mexico. Since the start of the health crisis, truck attacks of transport are multiplying there. Sometimes criminals target shipments of oxygen cylinders, a commodity prized by profiteers in these times of a pandemic. However, as explained The independent on April 13, 2021, criminals also got their hands on a any other kind of cargo.
They stole machines and other devices used to inspect industrial facilities. However, among these machines was a SENTINEL 880 Series Delta (see below). This x-ray projector is a machine that is used in industrial radiography.
A very worrying theft
Only, there you have it, the device in question is very dangerous. And for good reason, it contains highly radioactive isotopes such as iridium 192, selenium 75 and ytterbium 169. However, the cargo is sufficiently dangerous for the Mexican authorities to be on alert since the theft. The fear concerns the possibility that the device will be removed from its container. If the machine is corrupt, approach it less than thirty meters could cause irreversible damage to organisms.
At present, no one knows where the cargo is located, which in fact may have fallen into the hands of a cartel and not into those of simple thieves. In the event that the device is owned by a large organization, its members could potentially use their skills for the purpose of to make a “dirty bomb”. This could allow them to demand a large ransom or generate a disaster of significant magnitude.
The small van containing the device was attacked in the small town of Teoloyucan, on the outskirts of Mexico City. However, authorities believe the shipment may have already reached the capital. In any case, the manhunt is on to resolve this disturbing situation as quickly as possible.