RAPID CITY, S.D. — An Arizona man has been sentenced to five years of probation and restitution for airmailing a package of hazardous mercury that leaked at a South Dakota airport.

The Rapid City Journal reports http://bit.ly/2uItvgR that 45-year-old Darren VanHouten pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of mailing a dangerous substance. Exposure to mercury can make people sick.

VanHouten admitted mailing a package containing about 10 pounds of mercury from the post office in Kingman, Arizona, to an address in Hill City, South Dakota, in 2015. The reason isn’t clear. The package leaked at a mail-sorting facility at the Sioux Falls airport.

The facility was shut down for nearly a week while the building was cleaned and its air quality monitored. VanHouten was ordered to reimburse the $203,000 cost of the effort.


Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.