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Police find nearly two kilos of uranium in smuggler's garage

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Nearly two kilos radioactive uranium-238 were seized from a garage in Moldova's capital by police, who have arrested several people, officials said Tuesday.


REUTERS - Police in the ex-Soviet republic of Moldova have seized 1.8 kg radioactive uranium in a garage in the capital and have arrested several people, government officials said on Tuesday.

The substance was sent for tests in the United States which showed it to be uranium-238, Igor Volnitchii, a top state adviser to the government, told Reuters.

"A group of criminals involved in uranium smuggling planned to sell it abroad," Volnitchii said. A value of 9 million euros ($11 million) was put on the haul.

He said three people had been arrested and several others were being sought. Two members of the group were former police officers.

He said Moldovan authorities were now waiting for tests conducted in Germany to determine the country of origin of the uranium.

Moldova, one of Europe's poorest states with borders with European Union member Romania and Ukraine, stands at the cross-roads between east and western Europe.

EU officials say its territory, which includes the rebel territory of Transdniestr bordering Ukraine, is vulnerable to all types of smuggling, including narcotics and human trafficking.

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