A Mexican federal judge on Monday ordered five of the six people arrested last week in connection with the theft of a truck carrying nuclear material held for at least 40 days.
Four of the suspects are thought to have taken part in the theft, while the fifth bought the stolen truck, a source in the Mexican Attorney General’s Office told Efe.
The sixth person detained last week is a minor who has agreed to turn state’s witness, the source said.
All six were arrested last Thursday in Pachuca, the capital of the central state of Hidalgo, for their alleged connection with the theft.
The individuals were taken to the Pachuca General Hospital for tests to determine the extent of their exposure to cobalt-60, radioactive material that was among the medical equipment on board the truck stolen Monday in Tepojaco, Hidalgo.
When the blood and neurological tests came back “normal,” the AG’s office took the group to Mexico City for questioning.
The truck was stolen while transporting cobalt-60 from a hospital in the northwestern border city of Tijuana to a radioactive waste storage center.
The armed robbery occurred at a gas station when the driver and another occupant of the truck were asleep inside while waiting for the storage center to open.
Mexican authorities located the truck and the radioactive material Wednesday afternoon in a field near the town of Hueypoxtla, Mexico state, not far from where the vehicle was stolen.
While the cobalt-60 had been removed from its protective shielding, technicians from Mexico’s nuclear agency found no trace of radioactive contamination in the area.