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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A former Los Alamos National Laboratory employee has been sentenced to a year in prison for trying to take a 2-ounce piece of gold valued at $2,000 from the lab.
Alex Maestas was sentenced Tuesday by Senior U.S. District Judge C. Leroy Hansen.
The 46-year-old Maestas pleaded guilty Jan. 28 to theft of government property. During a plea hearing, he admitted stealing the gold from an area used to store plutonium and nuclear materials.
Investigators say the gold had been contaminated by a small amount of radioactive material, which triggered a monitoring alarm when Maestas tried to leave the facility on March 24, 2009.
Gold is stored at the site for science experiments.
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