State police have recovered evidence that may be tied to a murder-for-hire plot with targets including pop star Justin Bieber, officials said Thursday.
Troopers began their search for a suspect after law enforcement officials in New Mexico contacted them on Nov. 20 about a man from Albequerque thought to be traveling to St. Albans, VT, on a mission to murder two individuals.
The suspect, Tanner Ruane, 23, was traveling with Mark Staake, 41, when he came into contact with U.S. Custom agents at the Canadian border on Nov. 19. Immigration Customs Enforcement officials determined that Staake was in violation of felony probation for aggravated burglary with a deadly weapon issued by the New Mexico courts. Staake—recently released from the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility—was taken into custody by federal authorities.
Ruane was released.
State troopers located him at the Pilot Gas Station on Route 7 in Rotterdam. Ruane and his vehicle, a 1983 BMW were taken to the Princetown barracks.
Troopers recovered tools and documents associated with the conspiracy while searching Ruane's car. The documents included the identities of the intended victims in Vermont, their family members, and their whereabouts—and a hand-written drawing of a depiction of Justin Bieber, now being held as evidence.
New Mexico authorities forwarded a warrant for Ruane for two counts of first degree conspiracy to commit murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated battery with a deadly weapon related to the Vermont murder plot.
Troopers arrested Ruane as a fugitive from justice. Ruane was arraigned in the Town of Princetown Court and remanded to the Schenectady County Jail without bail. Extradition proceedings are underway. Ruane and Staake are being transported to New Mexico.