But Only Against One Individual So Far...About time! Almost 2 years after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and caused the gigantic BP oil spill which released over 200 million gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico, the first criminal charges are being filed in connection with the event.
Officials from the Justice Department told CNN that "Former BP engineer Kurt Mix was arrested in Texas on charges of intentionally destroying evidence requested by authorities." NPR reports that Mr. Mix was "charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting text messages after the spill. The texts were related to the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf. Mix will make his first appearance in court today."
These are preliminary charges and a law enforcement official says there are more charges to come.
Here are the highlights from the official Department of Justice press release:
WASHINGTON – Kurt Mix, a former engineer for BP plc, was arrested today on charges of intentionally destroying evidence requested by federal criminal authorities investigating the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon disaster, announced Attorney General Eric Holder [...]
Mix, 50, of Katy, Texas, was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice in a criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana and unsealed today.
“The department has filed initial charges in its investigation into the Deepwater Horizon disaster against an individual for allegedly deleting records relating to the amount of oil flowing from the Macondo well after the explosion that led to the devastating tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Attorney General Holder. “The Deepwater Horizon Task Force is continuing its investigation into the explosion and will hold accountable those who violated the law in connection with the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.” [...]
On or about Oct. 4, 2010, after Mix learned that his electronic files were to be collected by a vendor working for BP’s lawyers, Mix allegedly deleted on his iPhone a text string containing more than 200 text messages with a BP supervisor. The deleted texts, some of which were recovered forensically, included sensitive internal BP information collected in real-time as the Top Kill operation was occurring, which indicated that Top Kill was failing. Court documents allege that, among other things, Mix deleted a text he had sent on the evening of May 26, 2010, at the end of the first day of Top Kill. In the text, Mix stated, among other things, “Too much flowrate – over 15,000.” Before Top Kill commenced, Mix and other engineers had concluded internally that Top Kill was unlikely to succeed if the flow rate was greater than 15,000 barrels of oil per day (BOPD). At the time, BP’s public estimate of the flow rate was 5,000 BOPD – three times lower than the minimum flow rate indicated in Mix’s text.
In addition, on or about Aug. 19, 2011, after learning that his iPhone was about to be imaged by a vendor working for BP’s outside counsel, Mix allegedly deleted a text string containing more than 100 text messages with a BP contractor with whom Mix had worked on various issues concerning how much oil was flowing from the Macondo well after the blowout. By the time Mix deleted those texts, he had received numerous legal hold notices requiring him to preserve such data and had been communicating with a criminal defense lawyer in connection with the pending grand jury investigation of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
And if you want even more details, here's the affidavit.
Let's hope that more criminal charges will be pressed against those responsible for this disaster, if indeed more negligence and coverups can be uncovered.