The Legend of The Valley of Death
The Timbisha Shoshone Indian tribe legend says that the valley was once a fertile blooming land ruled by a powerful and strong queen which was willing to take many lives to rival the Aztec Empire. She enslaved many of her own people to build a palace in a very short time frame. The story says that the queen sent her own child to work and ensure her success, but the daughter died from heat exhaustion. The moment before her last breath, she cursed her mother. To punish the vain queen, nature increased the temperature in the valley until all creatures found their death, the queen faced her fate alone in her partly finished palace. That was the day when this place was named “The Valley of Death”
History of Las Vegas
We can say that the beginning of the real American Mafia started with Charles Luciano also knows as Lucky Luciano. He united the crime families and organized their co-existence and corporation in the 1920s. These decades are famous with the illegal alcohol distribution and the bloody rivalries of the mafia families for control over cities like New York and Chicago. Well, Lucky Luciano ended that destructive era and brought the idea for a more organized crime web, more powerful than any other before. Gambling was another key financial feather in the budget of the mafia. Everything from horse betting to card games and sports were subject to their business, together with the prostitution and the before-mentioned alcohol. The united crime families successfully led many illegal gambling operations all around the United States.
Las Vegas was not that popular yet, without any hesitation we can state that in the 1920s the place was nothing more than several dining stations with awful food and service. After the official gambling legalization in the state of Nevada in 1931 everything changed. The real prosperity of the city of Las Vegas began after 1940, and precisely after the end of the second world war. The real potential of the city was reached and explored by the legends Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky.
How It Started – Built By Gangsters
At that time the American tourist was still looking for quality time and fun in Cuba because, during the Batista regime, all gangsters and illegal casinos were welcomed. But after Fidel Castro`s revolution, most of the Americans were seeking a new place to spend their money. This is when Las Vegas become the greatest alternative replacement of Cuba.
Meyer Lansky was sceptical regarding the success of Vegas, and he was not willing to take any responsibility for this endeavour. This is why he chooses Bugsy Siegal to raise the needed cash to open a new casino in Vegas, the city as we said was not that popular then. Thanks to the large ambition and strong motivation, combine with great mind and organization skills, Bugsy Siegel used the Mafia`s money to open the first of its kind gambling resort in Las Vegas called – The Flamingo. Its official opening was right after Christmas, on 26th of December 1946. This was the beginning of a new era of the numerous mafia funded resorts and casino. Thanks to its perfect and isolated location, in the middle of the desert, it becomes quickly a top destination for all the people around the US which are looking for some fun. And ever since, they say… what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!
Bugsy did great, but he had other issues which cost him his life. Intentionally he skimmed large amounts of money from the construction, and pension funds of the Mafia controlled unions, and they found out. It was demanded to return the money. All of his hopes were laying with the success of the Flamingo resort, but as every new business, the expectation was not immediately met. This unfortunate course of events led to his assassination in 1947.
Las Vegas Crime Golden Ages
In the decade 1950-1960 was the true golden age of the Mafia in Las Vegas. With the growing interest in the city, many crime families opened their businesses there. New York families and Al Capone’s Chicago families started some of the top-rated casinos in Vegas like Stardust, Desert Inn, The Riviera, Golden Nugget, Fremont, Hacienda and more. But with the growing competition, some people got worried about their shrinking profits. Then all Las Vegas mafia families agreed on the deal that each family will receive shared profit from the other resorts. By this way the win twice, because it was almost impossible to identify the resort’s owners and because they get an equal share of the spoils.
Tourists from all states were coming to Las Vegas to have a good time, to enjoy amazing entertainment and maybe to win some money. It was the party mecca in the 60s some would say. The fabulous nightlife, the many lights, the free-minded people in Las Vegas were tempting for many. Nowadays they still are, and the place never lost its charisma, but the Las Vegas crime families fell off business in decades between 1960 and 1980. Maybe the person who started the idea of removing the Mafia from Vegas was the magnate Howard Hughes.
The End of Las Vegas Mafia
Mr Hughes successfully took the first steps of the official legislation of the Nevada law and the ban of such casino resorts syndicates with shared profits in the 1960s. On top of that, Howard Hughes purchased over 15 gambling resorts in Las Vegas, which slowly led to the expulsion of the crime families. But he also suffered significant losses from his new investment and not many years later, around the end of the 1970s, he left the casino business in Vegas.
Then the Mafia came back but just for a few years until the FBI went on war with the whole crime syndicate around the USA in the 1980s. The main target were exactly the hotels, resorts, casinos, and all the business carried out from the Las Vegas crime families. A huge part of the Mafia elite was arrested and sentenced to prison. The new casino owners tried to change the vision of the city and make it a more family-friendly destination. And this is how Las Vegas finally get rid of the old-fashioned mafia-style of living and the high death toll in Las Vegas.
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
Just like in the movie with Johnny Deep and Benicio Del Toro, Las Vegas is known for its beauty, but also with the horrifying stories of missing people, kidnappings, murders and crimes in general. Even there is a native American legend of Queho. This was a killer who was a suspect in 6 different murders and the one of his half-brother. After he killed the wife of one of the El Dorado Canyon miners, the authorities placed a reward on his head, dead or alive. But nobody was able to locate him or imprison him until his remains were found in a cave not far from Las Vegas. Ever-since he becomes a local legend of crime.
Las Vegas Homicides
There are many homicides in Las Vegas, and countless bodies are laying in the Mojave deserts, many of them related to the Las Vegas crime syndicates and the dirty business in the city. Now we will show you the most noticeable Las Vegas murder cases.
This is one of the unsolved homicides in Las Vegas. People believe that the owner of the Horseshoe Casino, Benny Binion, ordered the hit after he found out that Marvin is plotting to kidnap his son and exchange him for ransom. But this is just a theory, of course, nothing was proved after all. Marvin was a cab driver, in 1967 he was found in his car on the mountain view of the city shot in the chest with a shotgun and another single bullet in his skull. The investigation led to a dead end, and his murder is still subject of hypothetical theories without any solid proof.
The Coulthard Car Bombing
Another scandalous Las Vegas murder was one of the FBI agent Bill Coulthard. Again Benny Binion was the prime suspect, but nothing was proved. Bill moved in Las Vegas in 1946 and after he retired from the Bureau, he became a famous solicitor and businessman. Coulthard was strongly interested to place his hand on the land on which Benny`s casino and life savings are – The Horseshoe Casino. At the beginning of the 1970s, Benny`s lease was coming to its end, meanwhile, Coulthard refused to renew it.
On July the 25th 1972 Coulthard left his office and entered his vehicle on the public parking garage. After he turned the ignition key, a powerful bomb blew the card and set on fire several of the surrounding parked vehicles. The LVPD and FBI offered a reward of $75,000 for information which could take them to the killer but it was a dead end. Multiple leads were followed but no one was arrested for his murder, and the case remains open even nowadays. Benny Binion successfully signed his new 100 years lease, and he kept the ownership of the Horseshoe.
Murder of Ted Binion
After everything we told you about Benny Binion, it is not a surprise that his son was killed but the truth is that his murder was not related to the family business. In 1998 or 9 years after his father passed away, Ted was found dead in his home in Las Vegas. A significant amount of prescription and other illegal drugs were found in his system, and at first place the theory was suicide. But the Las Vegas police was not excluding the idea that the case was staged and 6 months later, it was reclassified as a homicide. In 1999 Binion`s girlfriend and her new lover were hold accounted for his murder. A few years later they were convicted for his murder. In 2003-2004 they were acquitted of the murder case and released from prison.
Famous Shoot-Outs and Mass-Killings
The history of Las Vegas remembers some horrifying stories of mass shootings and we intend to share with you those from the closest past. Both cases were shocking for the public and led the many discussions related to the arms dealing in the USA.
Shooting of Herbert Blitzstein
Herbert Blitzstein aka Fat Herbie was a mob legend in Las Vegas who was associated with the “The Hole in the Wall Gang”. He was a well-known figure in the burglary circles but also related to street rackets, prostitution, insurance frauds and loans. Exactly his name and reputation led him to his death. A rival Lav Vegas gang members took him out so they can get a bigger share of spoils from the robberies around the city. Fat Herbie was killed in a coldblooded pure executions style in 1997 – one bullet to the head with a small-calibre. He was coming back from a holiday while the hitmen Richard Friedman and Antone Davi were waiting for him in his house. The job was quick and easy, apart from killing Fat Herbie, they stole over $50,000 cash and coins and jewellery from his house. They were both sentenced to over 15 years in a correctional facility.
Massacre in the Supermarket
This is another shocking case for the publicity was the mass shooting in the Alberton`s supermarket in June 1999. The raw surveillance footage shows how Mr Zane Floyd enters the store with a 12 calibre and shoots at one of the employees. He started roaming around and killing 3 more of the staff members. The last victim was Zachary Emenegger who was shot in the back without any remorse. Zane Floyd murdered each and every person he faced in the store and tried to escape but the police surrounded the building already. He was caught and sentenced to death later on.
Other Las Vegas Crimes
The devil has many faces the people say. It the same with crimes, in this section, we will tell you more about some of the most famous crimes in the history of Las Vegas not related to intentional murders or hitman jobs. The first one to focus on is the Hilton Arson for which you will read below.
Up to this date, this is still one of the most horrifying cases in the history of Las Vegas, because in result 8 people were killed and over 200 were injured. The arsonist appeared to be a newly hired busboy called Philip Cline. At the very beginning when he was questioned, he advised that the fire caught him on the 8th floor around the elevator lobby. He alerted the surrounding guests and even tried to take the fire on his own with a trash can of water. But through the interrogation, he slipped and finally admitted that he started the fire, but he said, not intentionally. The investigator never believed him because they doubted that fire of such scale could start from a cannabis joint. Mr Cline was successfully convicted of 8 murders.
Kidnapping of Steve Wynn`s Daugher
Being rich has some downsides too, and one of them is that they and their families are subject to malicious actions and crimes. The CEO of Treasure Island and the Bellagio Steve Wynn was coming home on 26th of July 1993 when he received a call from an unknown man who claimed to hold his daughter as a hostage. In real, Wynn`s kid was kidnapped by two armed men from their own mansion in Las Vegas. The ransom demanded was equal to $2.5 million, but after negotiations, it was settled to $1.45 million, simply because Steve was not able to collect more money in cash. He loaded the money from the casino vault and left his car miles from it. At the very moment the kidnappers took the money, they advised Mr Wynn about the location of his daughter – the McCarran International Airport.
She was found scared but okay. A few days later, one of the kidnappers decided to do a stupid move and purchase a Ferrari with $200,000 cash in California. His name is Ray Cuddy and he was supposed to come back at the dealers shop in a couple of days in order to collect his new Ferrari. But the only thing that was waiting for him there was the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr Cuddy confessed that it was a two-man job, and ratted his partner in crime Jacob Sherwood. Both were convicted and charged of kidnapping, and both were sentenced to several decades in federal prison.
Robbery of $2.95 Million from Circus Casino
The is another major crime that appears to happen in Las Vegas. The robbery of the Circus Circus Casino armoured truck which was holding $2.95 million in 1993. Heather Tallchief and her associate Roberto Solis disappeared with the truck full of money and nobody was able to locate or find them a decade after the robbery. Suddenly in 2005, Heather decided to turn herself into the Las Vegas police, but even today there’s no information what happened with Roberto Solis and where he is now. Unfortunate for Heather, she was sentenced to 5 years in prison in 2006. None of the money was found or recovered after all.
Famous People Who Died in Las Vegas
Through all the party, the drugs, the prostitutes and the freedom given, many lives were lost, including those of many famous people. Literally, the number of celebrities who lost their lives in Las Vegas are too many to list them all, but we did our best to select the most interesting cases and faces or unfortunate death.
Tupac Amaru Shakur – The Rap Legend
Tupac Amaru Shakur is one of the most famous hip hop artists of all times. He was a black revolutionary of his own kind, and this is why the people loved him so much. He once said
Joe Louis – The Boxer
Joseph Louise Barrow also is known as Joe Louis was a professional American boxer in the period of 1934-1951. He becomes a world heavyweight champion in 1937 and holds the title 12 years until 1949. His nickname was Brown Bomber, he participated in 26 championship matches, but on the 27th he lost the heavyweight title from Ezard Charles. The Brown Bomber was ranked as one of the best heavyweight boxers of all times by the International Boxing Research Organization in 2005. He died at the age of 67 from a cardiac arrest in the Desert Springs Hospital Las Vegas on the 12th of April 1981. It is known that he had some addiction issues with cocaine after he passed out in 1969, and he was hospitalized. Also, he spends 5 months in the Colorado Psychiatric Hospital in 1970 with signs of physical breakdown and paranoia.
Pat Morita – Also Knows as Mr. Miyagi
Pat Morita or for some know as Mr Miyagi as one of his greatest acts. His full name is Noriyuki Morita and he was raised in the USA. His parents were Japanese immigrants who went to California in 1913 while Noriyuki was only 10 years old. As a kid, he suffered from spinal tuberculosis (Pott Disease) and was treated in several hospitals in California and San Francisco.
The doctors said he would never walk again, but he found hope in Catholicism after his time spent in a sanatorium near Sacramento. The priest who was serving there took good care of Noriyuki, even renamed him to Patrick Aloysius Ignatius Xavier Noriyuki Morita. Years later he was doing more than well, entertaining the customer of his newly opened family restaurant Ariake Chop Suey. This is how he started his stand-up comedy carrier, he took Pat Morita as a stage name.
He will always be remembered with roles like Mr Miyagi from the first “The Karate Kid” film or Tommy Tanaka in the tv show Amos. He successfully fought all struggles in his life until the age of 73 when a kidney failure took his life at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2005.
Dan Wheldon – The Race Driver
Dan Wheldon was an amazing driver who died in a terrible race accident in which 15 race cars participated. Dan was a British motor racing driver who won several big events like 2005 IndyCar Series Championship, Indianapolis 500 in 2005 and 2011, 24h Hours of Daytona in 2006. He was born in Emberton village near Olney, England in 1978. He made his way to go-kart racing at the age of 8, and later on, he won many tournaments like RAC British Cadet Karting Championship (3 times – 1988, 1989, 1990) and FIA Formula A World Cup 1995. Then he moved to larger cubicles at the age of 17 with his car racing debut in the Formula Vauxhall Junior Championship 1996. Between 1996 and 2001 successfully made his way through the big leagues like British Formula Ford Championship and others. Then in 2002, he progressed to a different career as an Indy Racing driver. He won a long list of races between 2002-2011 before the fatal accident on the grand show IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2011. This tragical accident will be forever remembered because in the crash 15 different cars took participation. Unfortunate for Wheldon, his car detached from the ground because of the collision in front of him and he ended all in a fire, scraping the catch fence. This date, this race and this person will be always remembered.
Diego Corrales – Another Boxing Legend
View this post on Instagram
Happy Birthday to the late Diego "Chico" Corrales! You are dearly missed champ! Everyday! Shout out to the Corrales Family, especially our friend Michelle Corrales! We are thinking of you and your family today… Photo Edit : @heczar / @supremeboxing #ChicoCorrales #DiegoCorrales #Champion #WBC #CorralesCastillo #Boxing #Boxeo #SupremeBoxing #Boxingfanatik #NoMasBoxing
Diego Corrales was born and raised in Las Vegas. He started his professional carrier as a boxer in 1996 and he becomes a champion several times until the unfortunate end of his life in 2007. He held the IBF super featherweight title from 1999 to 2000, the WBO super featherweight title in 2004, the WBO lightweight title from 2004 to 2006. He grew up in Oak Park, Sacramento, where he got involved with street gangs at the age of 13. He even witnessed the death of his best friend. His amateur carrier started in 1994 as he took second place at the US Amateur Championship. Later on, he became famous with his professional matches against F. Mayweather, Joel Casamayor, Acelino Freitas and others. Diego Corrales was also an adrenalin fan, who drove Suzuki GSXR 1000 motorcycle. The speed took his life on 7th of May 2007, he was not able to escape a high-speed collision with the car in front of him and that cost his life.
Online Casino or the Upcoming Death in Las Vegas
Despite the awful things that happened through the bloody history of Las Vegas, the city still offers one of the best holiday experiences in the USA. The long and crucial way from destruction, ransoms, killings and shady activities to today’s prestige of Las Vegas took over 80 years. The truth is that the new threat is coming in the face of modern and popular best online casinos. Yes, they save you travelling time to go there, they got better best casino bonuses and most importantly you can play in your favourite casino remotely from any place, anytime.
Casinos are our speciality, and if you are interested to learn more about the online casino, we can show you everything you need to know about them. The true differences of the online casinos are many, but you will be most tempted to learn about their bonuses and promotions, have a look you might be surprised