Update 3:10 p.m.:
The first person arrested in the BP oil spill is being released on $100,000 bail.
50-year-old Kurt Mix, a former BP engineer, has been accused of destroying evidence.
He was arrested on two counts of obstruction of justice and made a federal court appearance this afternoon here in Houston.
The Justice Department alleges the messages indicated a much higher flow of oil from the well than was being publicly reported. According to the Justice’s press release, their task force’s investigation is ongoing.
The former BP engineer, Kurt Mix, is accused of deleting more than 300 text messages about the amount of oil flowing from the blown-out well and the company’s failed attempts to plug the gusher in 2010.
Mix appeared before a judge in Houston, shackled at his hands and feet. He said very little during the hearing, answering routine questions about the obstruction of justice charges he faces.
The judge told him that if convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
An attorney for Mix declined to comment after the hearing.
BP won’t comment specifically on the arrest, but does say the company is cooperating with the justice department on the investigation.