MEXICO CITY (AFP) - Authorities issued an alert for several Mexican states on Wednesday after thieves snatched potentially deadly radioactive material used for industrial radiography.
The iridium-192 source was inside a container when it was stolen on Monday from a truck in Cardenas, a town in southern Tabasco state, the interior ministry said in statement.
The ministry launched an alert for civil protection authorities in the states of Tabasco, Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Veracruz, as well as the federal police, the navy and the army.
The theft was reported by a company named Garantia Radiografica e Ingenieria.
The ministry said that, if not handled with the proper protection, "this source could cause permanent injuries to the person who handles it or who has been in contact with it for a brief time (minutes or hours)." "Being close to this quantity of unprotected radioactive material for hours or days could be fatal," the statement warned.
It was the latest case of radioactive material being stolen in Mexico.
In December 2013, thieves took a truck containing highly radioactive cobalt-60, but they were apparently unaware of the cargo within the vehicle.
Authorities ultimately arrested and hospitalised several suspects in that case after recovering the potentially lethal material.