RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (Reuter) - Investigators uncovered an apparent plot to assassinate several Long Island, New York, local politicians with radioactive material, Suffolk County authorities said on Thursday, June 13.
District Attorney James Catterson told a news conference that two men had been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder. The alleged plot was "something out of a novel," he said, with radioactive material and weapons discovered in a house in Bellport, Long Island.
Catterson said one of the suspects, 47-year-old John Ford, was soliciting people to use radium isotope against Suffolk County Republican Party leader John Powell when an informant alerted the District Attorney's office on Wednesday. Ford was then recorded on tape outlining the plot.
Catterson described Ford as a former court officer and president of the Long Island UFO Network [LIUFON]. The other man arrested was identified as 42-year-old Joseph Mazzachelli of Manorville, but no further information was available on him.
"The plot was where an individual obsessed with hatred for mainstream political figures, with ballistics people would spread radioactive material in the seat of [the victim's] car, in his food or some proximity to him in the hope that he would contract incurable diseases and cause his death," Catterson said.
Apart from Powell, others targeted included two other Republicans, county legislator Fred Towle and Brookhaven public safety director Anthony Gazzola.
Long Island is the political stronghold of Republican Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, but he was not on the plotters' list.
Investigators found five canisters of radium, a low-level radioactive material, in Ford's home, Catterson said.
"Any potential threat to public health and safety has been eliminated," Catterson said in a statement. "There is no danger to the community and the material has been removed to a facility capable of its proper disposal."
Investigators also found a cache of rifles and handguns, ammunition, a mine sweeper, gas mask and assorted militia literature, the Suffolk County District Attorney said. It was not known whether the men belonged to a militia.
A third suspect was arrested Friday [June 14] in the alleged plot. Police found a small quantity of radium and weapons in the Medford, New York home of Edward Zabo, who was taken into custody, officials said.
Further arrests were expected, officials said.
Original file name: .CNI - LIUFON.Radium plot 6.17
This file was converted with TextToHTML - (c) Logic n.v.