WASHINGTON -- In the first criminal charges to emerge from the federal probe of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a former engineer for BP was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of intentionally destroying evidence requested by federal authorities who were investigating the April 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform.
Kurt Mix, 50, of Katy, Texas, was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court's Eastern District of Louisiana and unsealed Tuesday.
The charges cover actions Mix allegedly took after the April 20 explosion, during the period when BP tried its failed "top kill" effort, which entailed trying to halt the flow of oil from the blown-out Macondo well by pumping heavy mud into it.
Mix was a drilling and completions engineer for BP. According to the court documents, he worked on BP's efforts to estimate the flow of oil from the well and on efforts to staunch the leak. BP sent Mix "numerous messages" to preserve all information and communications regarding the Macondo well, including text messages, the documents said.