By Ellen Wulfhorst
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York cardiologist has been arrested and accused of a murder-for-hire plot against a competing doctor, authorities said on Wednesday.
Dr. Anthony Moschetto, 54, of Sands Point on Long Island, is accused of illegally dealing in prescription drugs and weapons and conspiring to kill a fellow cardiologist with whom he had a professional dispute, said the office of Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
The alleged plot came to light during an undercover police investigation involving Oxycodone pills, heroin and assault weapons, the district attorney's office said in a statement.
During that operation, detectives determined that Moschetto allegedly ordered the arson of the office of the other doctor, whose name was not revealed, as well as his murder, using blank prescriptions and cash as payments for the crimes, it said.
At one point Moschetto also asked for an assault on the other doctor's wife, the district attorney's statement said.
A fire set in late February damaged the office of the other doctor, the statement said.
A search of Moschetto's home turned up a cache of about 100 weapons, including a hand grenade, an AR-15 rifle and an M1 carbine, each with illegal high-capacity magazines, it said.
Many of the weapons were found in a hidden basement room revealed by a switch-activated, moving bookshelf, it said.
The doctor is charged with conspiracy, arson and burglary as well as drug and weapons charges. The stiffest count carries a possible sentence of up to 25 years in prison.
Also arrested in the case were James Chmela, 43, of Selden, New York, on weapons charges and James Kalamaras, 41, of Suffolk County, who is charged with arson.
The men were arrested on Tuesday and set to be arraigned on Wednesday in Nassau County District Court.
“What started as a routine investigation into the sale of prescription drugs revealed itself to be an even graver and more complex case with very serious allegations involving arson, assault weapons and even a murder plot,” Singas said.
(Editing by Bill Trott)