GREENWICH VILLAGE (PIX11) – The FBI says it uncovered a gruesome murder plot while investigating the case of the so-called Cannibal Cop.
Undercover agents say they have been tracking Christopher Asch and Richard Meltz and their alleged plot to kidnap, rape, torture and kill innocent people, for more than a year.
Agents said they arrested both men after Asch allegedly went to one of their meet-up places carrying two bags of tools including a Taser gun, rope, duct tape and meat hammer.
FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos said in a statement, “As alleged, both of these defendants took affirmative steps to carry out the conspiracy to kidnap and torture women. Their actions were not confined to talking about these ghoulish plans. They acquired the tools to accomplish the deed, including a Taser and the chemical means to anesthetize their victims. And they made detailed plans to use these instruments – plans that were foiled by the FBI’s intervention.”
On Monday, federal agents were going in and out of a Greenwich Village co-op building gathering evidence on a longtime resident, Asch, allegedly involved.
“That’s scary,” said Isabel Coffey, a neighbor who has known Asch for at least 10 years. “A friend of mine, who has since passed away, was afraid of him… but he seemed so easy-going and even harmless.”
The FBI says Asch was poised and ready to do a lot of harm. They say they have dozens of emails and taped phone conversations to prove it.
Here’s an example:
Last month, the FBI says it recorded this conversation between the two accused co-conspirators in March of 2013 as they were talking about looking for people they wanted to kidnap.
Meltz: I got the opportunity to do some cruising around and stuff.
Meltz: Nothing happened but it was exciting to pick out potential victims.
The complaint detailed disturbing communication between Asch and Meltz and undercover agents that, they say, proved their shared objective to kidnap, rape, torture and kill women, children and infants.
Agents say they recorded another conversation when the two men were talking about the dangers of bringing in outside people on their alleged plot:
Asch: Yeah, well I don’t know. I think we have to think long and hard about whether we should try do this soon or whether we should wait. I mean we will try to minimize the risk like havinga stun gun and so forth.
Meltz: Every time you do anything it’s a risk. And like you said, all you can try to do is minimize it.
Meltz: Because the end result is going to be fantastic.
The FBI says Asch went to New Jersey to conduct his own surveillance of potential victims. At one point he allegedly pointed to a woman and said, “She has to die.”
Agents say they found paperwork detailing gun show itineraries as well as documents about leg-spreaders and dental retractors. Agents say they found plenty of items related to the intent of a crime in Asch’s possession, including, black ski mask, hypodermic needles, handcuffs, leather ties and chrome forceps.
Asch, 54, is a former Stuyvesant librarian.
FBI agents say he was working with Richard Meltz, 65, who is the Chief of Police for a VA medical center in Massachusetts, to pull off the alleged plot.
Both men face federal charges of conspiracy to kidnap.