BP Engineer Arrested for Destroying Gulf Leak Evidence

Recovered messages show BP knew for weeks the spill was three times larger than company estimates.

U.S. authorities arrested a former BP PLC (IW 1000/3) engineer Tuesday for destroying evidence related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 and leaked millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Justice Department, prompting the first arrest since the disaster, charged Kurt Mix, 50, with two criminal counts.

The Katy, Texas resident was accused of obstruction of justice for trying to destroy hundreds of text messages on his iPhone that related to the incident.

The messages, which have been partially recovered, showed BP knew for weeks that the incident was three times larger than official company estimates and that its "Top Kill" effort to plug it was failing.

"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," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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