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SILVERTON – A sturdy brick structure that was once used to collect and recycle mercury is poised to fall into a creek that drains into the Stillaguamish River, health officials said.

The building is part of a century old mining operation off the Mountain Loop Highway.

A Snohomish Health District inspector found elevated levels of mercury and arsenic at the site last fall. State Department of Ecology investigators visited the site last week. That’s when they realized one of the “mercury collectors” is being undercut by a creek.

“We’ve looked it over and are now trying to figure what needs to happen,” said Larry Altose, a spokesman for the ecology department. “We don’t know what the next steps are at this point.”

The building was used to collect mercury used to separate gold, silver and other minerals that were being mined at the site in the early 1900s, Altose said. The area, including nearby Monte Cristo, was mined for gold, silver, lead and arsenic in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Altose said the site was listed as contaminated last fall based on the health district’s report.

Seattle: Woman pleads guilty to pharmacy theft

An Everett woman pleaded guilty Thursday to helping her husband burglarize an Edmonds pharmacy and forging prescriptions to obtain the narcotic Oxycodone.

On Dec. 5, 2005, Sarah J. Murray, 31, and her husband, Brent Murray, broke into the J and J Pharmacy on 212th Street SW. The burglar alarm was disabled after Brent Murray went to his workplace, a security company, and obtained the alarm code, the government alleged. Brent E. Murray, 30, pleaded guilty earlier.

In addition, the government said Sarah Murray worked with others to acquire Oxycodone with forged prescription forms, the government said.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik is scheduled to sentence Sarah Murray on Sept.28.

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