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Arrests of Armenians who have crossed into neighboring Georgia to try to sell nuclear materials have increased the past two years, with the latest coming just two weeks ago, said the US edition huffingtonpost.com April 25.
Nuclear non-proliferation experts in the US and elsewhere are alarmed about smuggling attempts in other countries in the former Soviet Union as well, according to the edition.
The arrests of most of the Armenians have been in sting operations in Georgia, where undercover officers posed as buyers from Islamic extremist groups, said the edition.
Armenians have been particularly active in nuclear-materials smuggling efforts in the region, according to Huffingtonpost.
"The US, which has been a driver of efforts to keep nuclear materials from the former Soviet Union from falling into the hands of rogue states or terrorists, gave Georgia $50 million a few years ago to help thwart smugglers," said the edition.
"Part of the money was used to install radiation detectors at Georgian border crossings, and that proved to be the undoing of Armenian smuggler Garik Dadayan the first time," said the edition adding that he was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison, but served only a few months before being released.
"The question of why the original sentence was so light, and why he was freed so quickly after being confined, has never been answered satisfactorily. The suspicion is that bribes were at play," explained the edition.
The light sentence apparently emboldened Dadayan to try again, said the edition. "In 2010, he was arrested in another smuggling effort, this time in cahoots with two other Armenians."
Given Armenia's distinction as one of the poorest countries in the former Soviet Union, it is obvious that the issue of nuclear-materials smuggling from the country will become increasingly relevant, according to Huffingtonpost.
2016.04.26 / 14:56