Man Charged With Possessing Radioactive Material


Orange County District Attorney
Press Release

Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

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

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 Ahmed’s license was revoked after his conviction.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.