Missing Los Alamos Laboratory documents found in drug bust

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Documents missing from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico have been found on a USB Flash Drive during a drug bust located inside the Los Alamos trailer park, Royal Crest on October 17 and contain what police say are "classified material." The drives were marked with symbols that indicated they belonged to the Los Alamos Laboratory.

Los Alamos has since confirmed that a breach has occurred and that at least three computer drives from the laboratory were confiscated during the raid.

"During the course of the search, officers realized that some of the items seized appeared to belong to the Los Alamos National Laboratory," said a statement by the Los Alamos County Police Department.

A subcontractor, Justin Stone, 20 was involved in the breach of security at the lab and according to Michael Anastasio, the lab's director, there is an "ongoing investigation." Stone was working in Technical Area 55, an area of the lab where plutonium is kept or the X Division, where data for the designs of nuclear bombs are kept. Stone says that he was not aware of what the drives contained saying, "I have no idea what's on it because I didn't get a chance to look." Stone also says that he acquired one of the drives a year ago when he traded drugs for the drive and that drive also contained information from Los Alamos Laboratory. Stone had only been living with a female friend, Jessica Quintana for no more than three weeks and was with his girlfriend Jessica Collins when police raided the home.

"I vaguely remember it contained information about nuclear waste sites around Los Alamos. I erased it and used the drive for myself," added Stone.

Quintana, who also worked in the laboratory as an archivist, was being investigated by the FBI for charges relating to methamphetamine type offenses and was arrested when authorities executed an arrest warrant for the female. Police say a "large amount" of methamphetamine paraphernalia was discovered in her trailer during a raid by the FBI. Pipes with the remains of methamphetamine were also found at the scene and Quintana also admitted that the items belonged to her.

"This is a serious matter, and we are taking immediate steps to address it. We intend to do everything possible to guard against any criminal activity, particularly where a breach of security may be involved. We have already taken a number of steps to address potential security risks," said Anastasio in a statement.

Drug paraphernalia along with methamphetamine drugs were also seized during the bust. Police were initially responding to a call of a domestic disturbance between Stone and his girlfriend which Stone denies was taking place.