Dirty Bomb Scare in New Mexico

Hundreds of people were evacuated from the New Mexico State Fairgrounds Saturday afternoon after two suspicious and radioactive items were found in a parking lot.
People were told to leave their cars at the fairgrounds and were then taken by bus to a nearby shelter.

They were allowed back in to get there cars at about 8:15 p.m. nearly five hours after a pipe bomb type device and another container were found under a car parked at the fine arts building.

�One of the containers said nuclear on it,� New Mexico State Police Lt. Juan Martinez said. �The other was a pink can that said �Cobalt 57.��

The devices were about 4 inches long and were made out of metal pipe, police said.

The Albuquerque Police Department bomb squad and a New Mexico National Guard civil-support team were called in to determine what these devices were and whether they were dangerous.

Police said they tested them with a Geiger counter, and they had low radioactive emissions.

State Police determined after several hours that the pipe bomb like devices contained cobalt 57 and cesium.

The radioactive emission from the two devices was so low they were removed from the scene by hand.

State Police said they can be used for some types of medical procedures and plumbers often use cobalt 57 to look for leaks.

State Police said a criminal investigation into who left the chemicals here is ongoing.

Police said the Department of Energy did deploy a special team from Sandia National Laboratory to help recover the items.

They said the devices will be stored temporarily at Sandia until they can be destroyed.

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