Vegas Has New Crime Element: Israeli Mob

WITH ITS FREE flow of cash and high-stakes gambling, Las Vegas has always been an attractive target of opportunity for organized crime.

For years the traditional La Cosa Nostra dominated street rackets here and even managed to gain hidden interests in casinos on the Strip. We were considered an "open city" for more than two dozen of the nation's Mafia families. . . .

[I]n recent months authorities have discovered that Israeli organized crime syndicates have set their sights on Las Vegas. One ranking crime figure was overheard a year ago by lawmen on court-approved wiretaps describing Las Vegas as "wide open" territory. . . .

[T]he Israeli syndicates are involved in traditional rackets, such as loan sharking, extortion, money laundering, prostitution and illegal gambling.

And they're just as violent as the Mafia. Two of the biggest families, one based in Jerusalem and the other in Tel Aviv, currently are involved in a bloody war over control of street rackets in Israel.

Jeff German reports the details in his column in the Las Vegas Sun.