Mexican rig recovered with most of sodium cyanide cargo missing
May 17, 2002 12:00 PM, By Charles E Wilson
Mexican police on May 16 recovered a tractor-trailer rig that was hijacked while transporting a load of sodium cyanide in drums. However, most of the cargo was missing.
Just 13 of nearly 100 drums were still on board the rig when it was found by Mexican federal police abandoned near Zacatlan, Puebla. One remaining drum had been opened, but police said there was no sign of contamination in the area where the rig was parked. In a statement, Mexico’s Environmental Ministry urged border agents to take extra precautions to ensure that the chemicals weren’t smuggled out of the country. Officials called the alert “precautionary,” and said there was no evidence any sodium cyanide had been moved out of Mexico.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued and alert and contacted US trucking associations after the rig was hijacked May 12 while en route from Queretaro, Queretaro, to Pachuca, Hidalgo.
Sodium cyanide (ERGO 1689) is used in gold and silver mining. Toxic by contact, inhalation, or ingestion, it attacks the nervous system and can cause a person to suffocate within minutes.