A former Las Vegas mayor who also served as an attorney for Mafia chieftains was impressed with the possibility that the Mob killed enemies and dumped them in Lake Mead.
Oscar Goodman, who represented Meyer Lansky, Frank Rosenthal and Anthony “Tony the Ant” Spilotro, stated he had no idea how the body of a man found in a barrel in the receding waters of the lake got there.
Still, he declared, “Dumping a body in a barrel and then dropping it in a lake is not a bad way to get rid of someone.”
“But nobody ever dreamt that lake would be as low as it is today,” he added in an interview with The Daily Mail.
The victim’s body was discovered close to Hemenway Harbor on May 1 after the water level plunged because of the megadrought in the area. The man had been shot in the head and had a metal overcoat in the shape of a barrel as it reportedly rested in the lake for years.
With the lake level dropping at Lake Mead, bodies are showing up….this could get interesting….🤔 pic.twitter.com/Yw02aWgrBJ
— Troy Warren (@chvyrod) May 2, 2022
“It’s going to be a very difficult case,” Las Vegas Metro police homicide Lt. Ray Spencer told the 8 News Now. “I would say there is a very good chance as the water level drops that we are going to find additional human remains.”
“Everybody is asking me, ‘Who is it – and do you know who did it?’” Goodman said. “And I say to them, don’t bother asking me that. How do I know? Nobody ever came to me and said, ‘Mr. Goodman you think it’s a good idea for us to put someone in a barrel and put him in the lake?’”
“I’m waiting to see if the guy was shot with a .22,” Goodman said. “The favorite method of murdering somebody back in those days was to use a .22.”
“The .22 kills people, but it doesn’t cause great damage,” he explained. “It’s a small caliber bullet. And the person was usually shot in the back of the head. That’s the modus operandi in most of the cases with Mob related murders.”
“I have to say if I was a gangster I wouldn’t use a .22,” he theorized. “I’d use something that put a bigger hole in somebody.”
Goodman turned to joking: “I used to joke that when we had a development project such as a new store, and I was asked to cut the ribbon as mayor at the start of excavation, I would pray one of my former client’s hands didn’t come up from the ground. That always used to crack people up.”
“If I were a criminal and I was looking to commit a crime and had to hide something like a body I would think of the desert before dumping it in a lake,” he insisted. “That’s a lot of work to go out to Lake Mead and put somebody in a barrel, go out on the water and dump that barrel.”
“Going out to the desert, you take a shovel and you do it at night, little flashlight,” he said confidently. “It’s easy to bury somebody out there. It’s a big desert.”
“It used to be like the wild west in Las Vegas. But everything is much tougher for somebody to be a real mobster these days,” he stated.
Commenting on Las Vegas in the 1960s and 1970s, he argued, “It was a very safe place to live then.” He explained that mobsters would kill people out of state and not in Las Vegas.
“They would do it in California or Arizona because they did not want to bring attention to Las Vegas,” he concluded.