During a routine traffic stop this week, authorities caught three individuals with a highly dangerous and toxic substance in their vehicle.
According to court documents, a suspect informed an officer that he utilized liquid mercury to extract gold from computers. Consequently, the hazmat crew from the fire department was summoned by the Oklahoma City police to eliminate the peculiar substance.
Early Tuesday morning, Kenneth Rankin, 49, was pulled over by an officer for a traffic stop near Northwest 10th Street and Blackwelder Avenue. Accompanying Rankin were Julie Whiteley, 44, and Alexah Bonds, 28, both passengers in the vehicle. The police made note of their presence during the stop.
According to Msgt. Gary Knight of the Oklahoma City Police Department, “The stories they were telling didn’t make a lot of sense.”
During the search of the suspects and their vehicle, additional officers were called upon by the police. An arrest report stated that the officers discovered syringes filled with what seemed to be methamphetamines, along with a vial containing Mercury. When one of the officers opened the lid, some of the liquid spilled out.
Knight stated that due to the toxicity of Mercury, they informed the hazmat unit of the fire department who promptly handled the Mercury aspect of the situation.
The officer was informed by Rankin, as per the affidavit, that the Mercury belonged to him and he had received it from a neighbor the day prior.
Knight expressed that encountering liquid Mercury, especially over a pound, is an uncommon occurrence. He further added that possessing such an amount is considered illegal.
Upon searching the purses of the two women, the officers discovered drugs and related paraphernalia. As a result, all three individuals were taken into custody and charged with a variety of criminal offenses, both felonies and misdemeanors.
Rankin is being accused of possessing Mercury along with multiple drug-related complaints against him.
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