Two Radioactive Smuggling Cases Reported

Three men have been detained in recent weeks for carrying radioactive material in separate cases in Asia and Africa (see GSN, Feb. 25).

In Tajikistan, authorities nabbed a suspected drug smuggler carrying 3 grams of factory-grade plutonium. The man’s name was not released, but authorities said he was from neighboring Uzbekistan, according to Agence France-Presse.

The plutonium probably came from Russia or Kazakhstan, said Avaz Yuldashev, spokesman for the Tajik drug control agency.

“The arrested man confessed that he intended to sell the plutonium to citizens of Afghanistan or Pakistan for $21,000,” Yuldashev said (Agence France-Presse, March 15).

Meanwhile, Zambian intelligence officers arrested two men Feb. 16 with an unspecified amount of bomb-grade uranium, Reuters reported. The two men were detained at the Lusaka Stock Exchange on the day of a planned visit by Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa.

Both men remain in custody today but have not been charged, their lawyer told Reuters.

The uranium is being tested, officials said (Shapi Shacinda, Reuters/ Yahoo!News, March 15)

March 15, 2004
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Three men have been detained in recent weeks for carrying radioactive material in separate cases in Asia and Africa (see GSN, Feb. 25).