Retired pharmacist from Ruby now faces federal charges in Albany Medical Center mercury case
A retired pharmacist from Ruby who was arrested last month for putting mercury in food at Albany Medical Center now faces federal charges in the case and could spend more than a decade in prison.
Martin Kimber, 59, of 8 Lena Lane, was charged by federal authorities with knowing endangerment for illegally disposing hazardous waste in a manner posing a danger of death or serious bodily injury to others, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said on Thursday. He also was charged with the federal crime of storage and disposal of hazardous waste without a permit.
The knowing endangerment charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Kimber was arrested by Albany police on March 29 and charged with the felony of tampering with a consumer product following an investigation into the discovery of small silver balls, which turned out to be mercury, in food in Albany Med’s cafeteria.
Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney John Duncan said on Thursday that the March 29 charges and the ones announced on Thursday may run concurrently, though the federal charges carry a much stiffer penalty.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a hospital surveillance video shot on March 2 shows Kimber placing a substance on items throughout the cafeteria, including food consumed by at least one patron, and on heating elements where the mercury could vaporize and be inhaled.
Mercury is a known human neurotoxin that kills nerve cells and can result in brain and lung damage, respiratory failure, ataxia, speech impairment, constriction of the visual field, hearing loss and somatosensory change.
The federal complaint against Kimber also states that on March 28, 2011, April 11, 2011, and June 23, 2011, mercury was deposited in numerous locations throughout the hospital.
Kimber was a patient at Albany Medical Center at one time, though officials couldn’t say whether he was a patient at the time of the any of the mercury incidents.
A search of Kimber’s Ruby home and his automobile resulted in the seizure of two jars of mercury and 21 guns, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. During the search, authorities also found a copy of “The Turner Diaries,” which is said to reflect sympathy for domestic terrorism, as well as a Nazi swastika on a wall, the office said.
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