Looking to buy a little stash of highly enriched uranium? Look no further than the black market in Georgia, and other former Soviet satellite states, where you can buy enough of the good stuff to make a big ass bomb.
Last March, two Armenian men — a businessman and a physicist — were arrested in Georgia trying to smuggle highly enriched uranium on a train into Georgia. According to the Guardian, the two men have pleaded guilty in a secret trial in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. They only had 18 grams at the time of their arrest, but told the buyers, who were undercover agents, that more could easily be procured. Details from the Guardian:
They smuggled it into Georgia by train, stuffing into a cigarette box lined with lead strips to fool radiation sensors at the border. Tonoyan, a 63-year-old who once ran a successful dairy business but gambled away his fortune, and Ohanyan, a 59-year-old scientist at the Yerevan Institute of Physics, had arranged to meet their buyer in a hotel room in the Georgian capital on 11 March. They were under the impression they were selling their 18g sample to a representative of an Islamist group as a precursor to a bigger consignment. But the buyer was a Georgian undercover police officer.
Ha! Gambling away a dairy fortune (we assume) is no small task. And a guy who pulls that off probably shouldn't be trusted as a business partner in a nuke deal. But who are we to judge?
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