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First BP engineer to face criminal charges for Gulf Spill

Charges have been filed against former BP engineer, Kurt Mix, due to criminal complaints in connection to BP Gulf oil spill two years ago, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. Mix was arrested in Katy, Texas and was accused of deleting hundreds of detailed text messages dealing with the oil leaks into the Gulf of Mexico.

CNN reported that on October 4, 2010, Mix destroyed a “text string containing more than 200 text messages with a BP supervisor” regarding sensitive information about the failure of one of its efforts to stop the oil spill after being informed that a BP lawyer would be asking for his files. Prior to the deletions, BP told Mix to save all information regarding Macondo.

BP made a statement saying the company has policies requiring individuals to keep evidence involved in the oil spill, and would be cooperating with the Department of Justice and other official investigations, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“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,” Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday.

As an engineer, Mix was involved in efforts to stop the leak and estimate the amount of oil leaking for the P-owned Macondo well.

“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,” the Justice Department said.

One of Mix’s message recovered said “too much flowrate — over 15,000.”

According to CNN, Mix would face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each of the two counts if he is convicted.