US police have foiled a plot to kill teen pop idol Justin Bieber and possibly castrate him with pruning shears, with the alleged killer promised US$2,500 per testicle, legal documents revealed.
Mark Staake, 41, and his nephew, Tanner Ruane, were arrested in Vermont and New York last month and face charges in New Mexico of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. They were allegedly recruited by a disgruntled Bieber fan, serving a life sentence for an unrelated murder, who met Staake in prison.
The pair were initially recruited to strangle two other victims and castrate them with pruning shears, but convicted killer Dana Martin told police that the "ultimate" target was Bieber, who was performing in New York.
"Through follow-up investigation it was discovered that Justin Bieber may have also been a target of the murder plot," said a statement by New Mexico's Department of Public Safety.
An affidavit detailed the grisly plot, including the brand of pruning shears and how the testicles would be transported after the planned murders of two male victims in the northeastern state of Vermont.
In a telephone call Martin, who was allegedly infatuated with Bieber, asked Staake what he was going to use to castrate the victims.
"Mr Ruane stated that he had brought a pair of hand(held) hedge clippers," said the affidavit, which said the shears were made by Durasharp.
Martin, who had a tattoo of Bieber on his leg and had tried to contact the singer repeatedly without success, subsequently told police that the two Vermont men "were not the ultimate targets in the plot."
"Mr Martin indicated that their ultimate target was" Bieber, said the affidavit.