How's this for an unusual airport bust: Authorities say a guy at JFK flew into the country with uranium ore hidden in the soles of his shoes. The suspect thought he was working on a deal to sell that ore and much more to Iran for use in nuclear weapons, but it turned out to be a sting by Homeland Security, reports the Smoking Gun. The feds say the case started in May 2012, when an undercover agent posted an ad on a China-based website looking to buy yellowcake uranium. The agent soon got a bite from the suspect, identified as foreign national Patrick Campbell.
Campbell said he represented a mining company in Sierra Leone that could supply the material, and he and the agent worked out the logistics over 15 months. Campbell flew from Paris to JFK on Wednesday and was about to catch a connecting flight to Miami, where the meeting was supposed to take place, when the feds arrested him. They confiscated samples of the raw uranium from his shoes (it was in plastic bags), along with a thumb drive that contained a contract for a larger shipment. Campbell, 33, is charged with violating laws that prohibit such deals with Iran, and he faces 20 years in prison if convicted, reports NBC New York. (Read more uranium stories.)