Man Busted at JFK Trying to Smuggle Uranium to Iran in Shoes

Uranium concentrate, commonly known as U3O8 or yellowcake, sits in the Uvanas processing facility near the East Mynkuduk uranium deposit in Kyzemshek, Kazakhstan, on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007. Yellowcake is the end-product of the in-situ leaching process employed in the nearby East Mynkuduk uranium mine.
"Pray to God you don't drop that ... " Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Patrick Campbell of Sierra Leone was arrested at JFK Airport this week after allegedly agreeing to sell 1,000 tons of yellowcake uranium to a broker, with the product supposedly destined for Iran. In reality, he was dealing with Homeland Security agents, who'd posted a request ad on more than a year ago. After many Skype negotiations about the "delicate business transaction," a sample of the raw material, which can be used in nuclear weapons when enriched, was found hidden beneath the soles of shoes in Campbell's luggage. He also brought along a thumb drive with a PowerPoint presentation on the big sale that he'll never get to deliver.