Justin Bieber saved from hitmen?
00:59 - Source: hln

Story highlights

NEW: "It's been freaking crazy," police spokesman says of global interest in case

NEW: Three men plot to castrate and kill Justin Bieber and three others, police say

NEW: Plot masterminded by an imprisoned child killer with a Bieber tattoo, officials say

NEW: Scheme unravels when two conspirators get lost at Canadian border

CNN  — 

A New Mexico inmate, an ex-convict on probation and his nephew are under investigation for plotting to castrate and murder pop singer Justin Bieber, police said Thursday.

Their unsuccessful scheme called for targeting Bieber and his bodyguard while in New York City in mid-November, and their motive grew from the inmate’s quest for notoriety and his infatuation with Bieber, said a New Mexico State Police affidavit.

The inmate, Dana Martin, who is serving two life sentences for a 2000 rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl in Vermont, has a tattoo of Bieber on his leg and had attempted to correspond with Bieber, who never responded, the affidavit said.

“This perceived slight made Mr. Martin upset and that, coupled with Mr. Martin’s perception of being a ‘nobody’ in prison, led him to begin plotting the kidnap and murder of (Bieber),” the affidavit said, adding that Martin gave statements to investigators.

With Martin serving as the mastermind, the plan called for the uncle and nephew to first kill two other people, in Vermont, the affidavit said.

But the entire scheme to kill a total of four people, including Bieber, unraveled when the uncle and nephew missed their turn on a Vermont road and ended up heading toward the Canadian border on November 19, authorities said.

There, a U.S. Border Patrol agent at the Highgate Springs crossing arrested the uncle, Mark Aaron Staake, 41, because he was found to have an outstanding warrant for a felony parole violation out of New Mexico, authorities said.

The nephew, Tanner Ruane, 23, was released with their 1983 BMW, but he then spilled the beans about the murder plots when he called Martin in prison the same day, New Mexico authorities said.

Prison guards were recording the phone call, and Ruane was later arrested in New York by state police, authorities said.

In the phone call, Ruane and Martin spoke in code and referred to the victims as “dogs,” the affidavit said.

“Mr. Martin confirmed that the ‘dogs’ would be castrated too, and Mr. Ruane not only agreed, but stated he himself was the one who was going to do the castrating,” the affidavit said.

The instrument for castration would be hand-held hedge clippers used for trimming roses, the court document said. The victims were to be strangled with a paisley tie “because that was what he (Mr. Martin) had used previously,” the affidavit said, without elaborating.

“In response to Mr. Staake’s reluctance to follow through with the castrations, Mr. Ruane stated he was going to do it and get ‘five large for each one I get.’ Mr. Martin confirmed that Mr. Ruane was going to get $2,500.00 per testicle,” the affidavit said.

The testicles were to be put in bags, to be hidden in a place such as the engine compartment, the document said.

When asked by CNN if that grisly plan would be applied to all victims, including Bieber, McDonald stated: “It would be safe to say they were going to do it for every one of them.”

None of the three men have been charged in the alleged murder plot against Bieber and his bodyguard, but the investigation is continuing, New Mexico State Police Lt. Robert McDonald told CNN.

New Mexico authorities are seeking the extradition of Staake from Vermont and Ruane from New York, McDonald said. Both men have Albuquerque addresses, police said.

Staake and Ruane are now each facing two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and two counts to commit aggravated battery, and those New Mexico charges relate to their plot to kill two people in Vermont, McDonald said. Authorities weren’t elaborating on that scheme and the two intended victims, McDonald said.

The attorneys for Staake and Ruane didn’t respond to CNN’s requests for comment Thursday.

Said McDonald: “We got to interview these (two) men and see what they say about this whole thing.”

The affidavit refers to Bieber as “Victim 3” or “J.B.” who was the “ultimate target.”

McDonald told CNN that J.B. refers to Justin Bieber.

A representative for 18-year-old Bieber said, “We take every precaution to protect and ensure the safety of Justin and his fans.”

Bieber rose to fame in 2009 with his hit single “One Time.” He was named Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards in both 2010 and 2012.

Martin and Staake met while inmates in the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility after Martin was transferred there from a Florida prison in April, the affidavit said. Staake was released and put on probation on October 22. McDonald didn’t know why Martin was in a Florida prison, he said.

“When asked how he was able to convince Mr. Staake to participate, Mr. Martin stated he (Mr. Martin) was a very good manipulator,” the court document said. Martin also promised money and a Vermont farm as a hideout, the affidavit said.

Martin remains under investigation and is in fact named in the affidavit as a conspirator in the Vermont plot. The affidavit was filed in Dona Ana County for seeking an arrest warrant against Staake.

But Martin hasn’t been formally charged in any of the plots, McDonald said.

“For us, there’s no rush (for charges) as far as Martin is concerned because he’s serving life sentences anyway,” McDonald said.

Media across the world have been calling McDonald.

“It’s been freaking crazy,” he said. “But the good thing is we nipped this thing in the bud and we caught it before anyone was hurt.

“We’re definitely thankful – we owe it to the guard at the correctional facility who caught these phone calls and got on it right away. That’s how we were able to catch these guys,” McDonald said.

CNN’s Laura Ly and Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.