Man Charged With Possessing Radioactive Material

For Immediate Release
April 4th, 2002
Contact: DDA Nick Thompson: (714) 345-7722
Tori Richards: (714) 347-8405

Man Charged With Possessing Radioactive Material

SANTA ANA — A bio-nuclear chemist was arrested today on a charge of illegally possessing radioactive material in his Westminster home.

Investigators from the District Attorney’s Office arrested Riad Mohamad Ahmed (DOB 3-17-40) today at his home and conducted a search of the premises. Also aiding in the search was the county Health Care Agency and the Westminster Police Department.

The case unfolded when federal and state environmental officials conducted a routine search of the defendant’s home on Feb. 6. Ahmed was on probation for a 1997 case of illegal disposal of radioactive material. In that incident, his chemical laboratory – California Bionuclear Corporation — exploded in the city of Gardena. Firefighters found that Ahmed had been producing radioactive materials and chemicals that he refused to identify to authorities. The site has since been labeled a “Superfund Cleanup Site” by the federal government.

A charge was filed Wednesday in this case after officials found two briefcases and a desk that tested positive for radioactive material “Carbon 14.” One briefcase was found in a closet, another in the garage with the desk. Both briefcases were empty. The materials were deemed not to be at a level hazardous to the general public. However, the amount still exceeded what is allowable outside a lab even if the defendant had a license to do so. Ahmed’s license was revoked after his conviction.

During today’s search, authorities seized a total of three briefcases, a suit and the desk that tested positive for radiation. As of 2:30 p.m., the search was ongoing.