Poker player faces bomb threat and extortion charges

A Las Vegas man who was playing poker at the Mandalay Bay late Jan. 1 did what many gamblers do: He took a break from the tables.

But Macario Acopiado’s next move, according to Las Vegas police, was to go all in on the longest of long shots.

Acopiado, 46, is accused of placing a call from the poker room phone to an employee at another MGM Mirage resort, Bellagio, and threatening to blow up the Italian-themed hotel and casino if he didn’t get $10,000 within five minutes.

MGM Mirage didn’t fall for the bluff. Acopiado was jailed early Jan. 2 on felony charges of extortion and making a bomb threat.

A police report states that a security guard from the Bellagio received a phone call about 11:30 p.m. Jan. 1 from a man who made the threat. A security guard at Mandalay Bay quickly determined the call was made from inside the casino, the report states. Acopiado was identified as the man who placed the threatening phone call through surveillance tapes. Acopiado was stopped when he was trying to exit the poker room, the report states.

A Mandalay Bay security guard said Acopiado told him he had placed a call to the Bellagio asking for money, according to the police report.

Las Vegas police Detective Tony Morales said he was unaware of any explanation for the “ridiculous” actions alleged to have occurred in the case, such as, for example, that Acopiado had just lost a lot of money at the poker table before the call was made.

“People sometimes do strange things for strange reasons,” Morales said.

A woman who answered the phone at Acopiado’s home Thursday said he would not comment until he saw the police report. An MGM Mirage spokeswoman directed calls about the matter to police.

Under Nevada law, making a bomb threat is punishable by imprisonment from one to six years and a fine of up to $5,000, and extortion is punishable by a sentence of one to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Provisions added after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks stiffen penalties for bomb threats whenever the threats are classified as acts of terrorism, said Scott Eichhorn, a local defense attorney.

“There hasn’t been too much vigorous use of those new provisions, but there’s always that distinct possibility,” he said. “9/11 changed everything.”

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplan as@reviewjournal.com or (702) 383-4638

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