Inactive mail bomb sent to Mexican bioresearch facility

The Institute of Biotechnology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico recently received a letter containing explosive material.

Mexican federal authorities are investigating the incident, as well as attempting to determine whether it is connected to a chain of letter bombs sent to Mexican research institutes beginning two years ago. UNAM said that the letter contained material that likely originated from fireworks, an alkaline battery and cables, according to the journal Nature.

"It simulated a detonator mechanism, but it was not one. Experts [from the Mexican army] have assured me that it was a device that could not explode," Secretary of the State of Morelos Jorge Messeguer Guillén said, Nature reports.

After the letter was discovered, it was immediately sent to an army facility where it was destroyed. The army also investigated to see if other, similar letters had been delivered to the campus.

The letter was addressed to junior scientist Sergio Andrés Águila Puentes, whose status was recently changed to a former collaborator at the research center on the institute's website. Messeguer said that the letter was originally sent from Mexico City and that the sender listed on the envelope was someone known to Águila. He also said that federal authorities would be investigating all possibilities, including a connection to an eco-anarchist group called Individuals Tending Towards Savagery.

"This researcher touches subjects of nanotechnology, which some groups oppose. As well, there have been previous cases of this kind of threat, by groups that oppose genetic manipulations," Messeguer said, Nature reports.