Man Charged With Killing Associates, Accomplices
HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) _ ″Operation Iceman″ has led to five murder charges against a man authorities say spread cyanide on one victim’s hamburger and froze another’s body for 15 months.
Richard Kuklinski, 51, was arrested Wednesday as a result of the six-year investigation of the killings, authorities said.
Kuklinski’s first three victims believed he was going to sell them drugs or pornographic video tapes, authorities said. When they met Kuklinksi to close the deals, he shot them or killed them with cyanide and kept the cash, authorities said.
″He set individuals up for business deals, they would disappear and the money would end up in his hands,″ state Attorney General W. Cary Edwards told a news conference after a judge Wednesday set bail for Kuklinski at $2 million. ″He murdered for profit.″
An undercover federal agent met Kuklinski in August, and concocted a story about a man willing to pay $85,000 for drugs, Edwards said. The agent proposed that they set up and murder the ″buyer,″ he said.
The two planned the murder during the past two months, he said.
Early Wednesday, the agent gave Kuklinski a fake packet of cyanide for him to commit the murder that day, Edwards said.
As planned, Kuklinski returned to his home in the fashionable New York City suburb of Dumont, and about two hours later, he and his wife drove away, said Edwards. They were arrested at a roadblock one block away.
Kukliski’s wife Barbara was charged with disorderly conduct for trying to prevent the arrest, Edwards said.
Judge Peter Ciolino set bail and ordered Kuklinski to surrender his passport. Deputy Attorney General Robert J. Carroll said Kuklinski had large sums of money in Swiss bank accounts and a reservation for a flight to Switzerland.
Kuklinski did not speak as he stood handcuffed in court. Later, he told reporters, ″This is unwarranted, unnecessary. These guys watch too many movies.″
He is charged with five counts of murder, six weapons violations, three counts of robbery and one count each of attempted murder and attempted robbery, Carroll said.
The first victim, George Malliband, 42, of Huntingdon, Pa., was killed Jan. 31, 1980, after he met with Kuklinski, who was to sell him video tapes, Carroll told the judge.
Malliband, whose body with multiple bullet wounds was found several days later stuffed in a 55-gallon drum, had been carrying $27,000.
Louis Masgay, 50, of Forty Fort, Pa., was last seen in public on July 1, 1981, on his way to a New Jersey diner where he was to buy video tapes from Kuklinski, said Carroll. Masgay had hidden $95,000 in his van.
Fifteen months later, Masgay’s partially decomposed body was found in Orangetown, N.Y., shot in the head and wrapped in plastic bags. Authorities said the body had been stored in a freezer.
Paul Hoffman, 51, a Cliffside Park pharmacist, was last seen in public April 29, 1982, on his way to buy $22,000 worth of a prescription drug from Kuklinski, said Carroll. His body has not been found.
The body of one of Kuklinski’s accomplices, Gary Smith, of Highland Lakes, was found Dec. 27, 1982, stuffed under a platform bed in a North Bergen motel, Carroll said.
Kuklinski told the undercover agent he spread cyanide on a hamburger that Smith, 42, was eating and the victim then was strangled with a lamp cord by another accomplice, Daniel Deppner, said Carroll.
Deppner, 46, who was Smith’s roommate, was killed by Kuklinski later, Carroll said. Deppner’s body was found May 14, 1983, near West Milford, he said.