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New RJ podcast series chronicles rise and fall of mob in Las Vegas

Updated May 22, 2020 - 3:11 pm

In a normal Las Vegas neighborhood, Las Vegas police found bullet holes in the wall and a trail of blood leading to a backyard pool. The next day, the Las Vegas Review-Journal ran the headline “Con Suspect Killed in ‘Bloody Murder.’ ”

That scene is the launching point for a new true-crime podcast series produced by the Las Vegas Review-Journal in partnership with The Mob Museum. Review-Journal podcast producer Reed Redmond visited the home, which still stands today, to help piece together the dark history of organized crime in Las Vegas for the podcast “Mobbed Up.”

“Mobbed Up” looks back through 40 years of Las Vegas history during an era when mobsters controlled casinos, bribed local police and got away with murder. The podcast includes dozens of interviews and historical accounts from former mobsters, law enforcement, politicians and journalists who watched and participated in the rise and fall of the mob in Las Vegas.

Each episode is 30-50 minutes and will be released on streaming platforms and at reviewjournal.com/mobbedup. The first two episodes will premiere May 26, and subsequent ones will be released each Tuesday through July 28. The series trailer is available now.

“We use the historical archives of the Review-Journal and The Mob Museum as well as the wiretaps that opened the door for the FBI to bring down the mob in Las Vegas,” said Jim Prather, the Review-Journal’s executive director of digital programming, who oversaw the project. “Reed connects the dots and provides a voice to an era that no longer exists.”

That era is often romanticized by longtime Las Vegas residents, said Geoff Schumacher, vice president of exhibits and programs for The Mob Museum. “Mobbed Up” takes a look at Las Vegas’ history without a filter. Mobsters and their victims are humanized, he said.

“The movies have really helped people to become infatuated with the mob,” Schumacher said. “They have built up these personalities to make them larger than life. (The podcast) does not glorify the mobs; it doesn’t make them larger than life. It (portrays) them as real people and real criminals.”

“Mobbed Up” is the first podcast the museum has been a part of, adding to its vast archives of interviews, panel discussions and blogs on its website. And it’s a big step forward for the Review-Journal.

“The ‘Mobbed Up’ series represents our most significant collaboration to date with the museum, and by far our most ambitious podcast project at reviewjournal.com,” said Glenn Cook, executive editor and senior vice president for news for the Review-Journal.

“Mobbed Up” took Redmond about seven months to finish. Production was completed in his closet, which he turned into a makeshift sound studio, after the newspaper’s office closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Las Vegas is a city that papers over its history; it’s constantly reshaping,” Redmond said. “The mob is such an integral part of the city’s history.”

Listeners can subscribe to “Mobbed Up” through their favorite podcast services, including Apple, Spotify and Google. “Mobbed Up” and other Review-Journal podcasts are available at www.reviewjournal.com/podcasts.

Contact Alex Chhith at achhith@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0290. Follow @alexchhith on Twitter.

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