A former Las Vegas mob lawyer says his clients are interested in “climate control” after human remains emerged from a drought-stricken Colorado River reservoir.
Recent discoveries of bodies and human remains near Lake Mead have renewed interest in the reservoir, which is a 30-minute drive from the notoriously mob-founded Las Vegas Strip.
Oscar Goodman, who represented mob figures as a lawyer before serving three terms as mayor of Las Vegas, says many of his former clients seemed interested in ‘climate control’ – the crowd is talking to maintain the level of the lake and the bodies in their water falls.
Instead, the world is now seeing the effects of climate change and the surface of Lake Mead has dropped over 52m since 1983.
The lake that quenches the thirst of 40 million people in cities, farms and tribes across seven southwestern states is down to about 30% of its capacity.
Mr Goodman added that ‘it is unclear what we will find in Lake Mead’ and that the reservoir was ‘not a bad place to dump a body’.
Last week, a barrel containing a body was found near the shore of Lake Mead. Personal items found inside suggest the individual died in the 1980s, a homicide detective said.
On Saturday, two sisters paddleboarding on the lake found human bones about 14.5 km from where the barrel was discovered.
Michael Green, a history professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, whose father played blackjack for decades in casinos, said: “If the lake goes down much further, it’s very possible that things very interesting surface.”
“I wouldn’t bet the mortgage we’re going to solve who killed Bugsy Siegel,” Mr Green said, referring to the infamous mobster who opened the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in 1946 on what would become the Strip.
Siegel was shot in 1947 in Beverly Hills, California, and his killer has never been identified.
“But I would bet there will be a few more bodies,” Mr Green added.
Geoff Schumacher, vice-president of the Mob Museum, said: ‘I think many of these people will probably have been drowning victims’, referring to boaters and swimmers who were never found.
“But a barrel has the signature hit of the mob. Putting a body in a barrel. Sometimes they would throw it in the water,” he added.
Both Mr. Schumacher and Mr. Green cited the death of John “Handsome Johnny” Roselli, a mid-1950s Las Vegas mobster who disappeared in 1976 days before his body was found in a steel drum of 208 liters floating off Miami.
Falling lake levels exposed the highest drinking water intake in Las Vegas on April 25, forcing the regional water authority to switch to a deep water intake it completed in 2020 to continue to supply casinos, suburbs, residents and tourists.
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