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Mexican Official Says Six Arrested In Cobalt-60 Heist

A firefighter stands next to the radiation head which contained the stolen cobalt-60. Marco Ugarte/AP hide caption

toggle caption Marco Ugarte/AP

A firefighter stands next to the radiation head which contained the stolen cobalt-60.

Marco Ugarte/AP

The Associated Press is quoting a Mexican government official as saying six people in the hospital for possible radiation exposure are suspects in this week's theft of a shipment of radioactive cobalt-60.

The unnamed official tells the AP that the suspects were arrested on Thursday and were taken to the general hospital in Pachuca for observation and testing.

The news agency quotes Hidalgo state Health Minister Pedro Luis Noble as saying none are in grave condition and may be released soon.

As we reported earlier this week, a white Volkswagen truck carrying the medical-grade cobalt-60 was stolen on Monday at a gas station in Mexico. On Wednesday, officials recovered the "extremely dangerous" chemical hours after finding its empty container.

As The Associated Press reports:

"The theft triggered alerts in six Mexican states and Mexico City, as well as international notifications to the U.S. and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. It raised concerns that the material could have been stolen to make a dirty bomb, a conventional explosive that disseminates radioactive material. But Mexican officials said that the thieves seemed to have targeted the cargo truck with moveable platform and crane, and likely didn't know about the dangerous cargo."

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