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DOJ announces first criminal charges in Macondo investigation

A former BP PLC engineer was arrested on charges of intentionally destroying evidence sought by federal criminal authorities investigating the 2010 Macondo deepwater well incident and subsequent oil spill, US Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder announced. The arrest on two obstruction of justice counts stemmed from the first criminal charges in the investigation, he said.

Kurt Mix, 50, of Katy, Tex., was a drilling and completions project engineer for BP who the company told several times to retain all information, including text messages, as he worked on internal efforts to estimate the amount of oil leaking from the well and on activities to stop the leak, DOJ said. Mix allegedly deleted the information instead, it indicated.

The charges were filed and unsealed in US District Court for Eastern Louisiana on Apr. 24. If convicted, Mix faces up to 20 years in prison and a $125,000 fine on each count, DOJ said.

Holder said that the federal taskforce will continue its investigation and hold accountable anyone it finds broke the law in connection with the case.

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