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Prosecutors released this photo of items Robert Christopher Asch brought to a meeting with a FBI undercover operative to allegedly be used in a kidnapping. (Southern District New York U.S. Attorney's Office)

Nashua man charged in 'cannibal cop' conspiracy to torture, rape, kill women and kids

NASHUA - A Nashua man was charged Monday in connection with the "cannibal cop" case, in which a group of men allegedly plotted to torture and kill children and women.

Richard Meltz, 65, of Nashua and Stanhope, N.J., who is the chief of police for the Bedford, Mass., Veteran Affairs Medical Center, was one of two men charged Monday with conspiracy to "kidnap, torture, rape and kill women and children," according to the FBI. Robert Christopher Asch, 62, of New York City, also was arrested Monday.

In media reports, defense lawyers have said the men, along with alleged co-conspirator Michael Vanhise, were engaging in fantasies that they never carried out.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos, though, said the men had purchased stun guns and chemicals to subdue potential victims.

"As alleged, both of these defendants took affirmative steps to carry out the conspiracy to kidnap and torture women," Venizelos said in a statement. "Their actions were not confined to talking about these ghoulish plans."

Vanhise, who was arrested in January, allegedly communicated online with former New York City police officer Gilberto Valle, 28, who was convicted March 12 of one count of kidnapping conspiracy. Valle is scheduled to be sentenced June 19.


Weekend 'Top 10' Planner: February 24-26, 2017 Weekend 'Top 10' Planner: February 24-26, 2017
Winter break for New Hampshire students begins this weekend so there will be plenty of family-centered activities at the ski areas, local libraries, and attractions throughout the state. Take some...

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