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Inside Vegas - Steve Miller

Steve Miller is a former Las Vegas City Councilman. In 1991, the readers of the Las Vegas Review Journal voted him the "Most Effective Public Official" in Southern Nevada. Visit his website at:

Were bar patrons drugged, then rolled?
Indictments may be delayed pending new evidence
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
November 8, 2004

LAS VEGAS - October 25 was just another morning at Allstate Auto Repair, that's until Justin Cobb staggered into the waiting room. Cobb told onlookers that he had spent the night in the Crazy Horse Too, a neighboring topless bar on Industrial Road. He asked for help and handed a garage employee two credit cards and his driver's license before falling onto a couch and passing out. When garage employees and customers were unsuccessful in reviving him, paramedics were summoned. The first on the scene was a Las Vegas Fire Department paramedic who told witnesses, "He was drugged."

      Justin Cobb found unconscious after visiting the Crazy Horse Too
                             ( photo by Buffalo Jim Barrier)

This was not an unusual circumstance at the Crazy Horse. For years there have been dozens of recorded instances where patrons were allowed to become so intoxicated that they required medical attention. But what is also troubling is that some of the same patrons complained of having their credit cards loaded to their limits, then being forced to sign bogus charge slips, and being fingerprinted before they lost consciousness. The fingerprint is supposedly to confirm their identity and approval of the charges.

Nevada has strict Alcohol Awareness Laws that prevent bartenders and cocktail servers from dispensing drinks to obviously intoxicated patrons. Nevada also has a .08 limit on drinking and driving. It was not known if Cobb was trying to access a car before he passed out, but others who were have been photographed lying unconscious in the Crazy Horse parking lot, one next to a car with the engine running.
           Unconscious Crazy Horse Too patrons photographed in parking lot
                                 ( photos by Buffalo Jim Barrier)

Sandy Heverly, founder of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and Stop DUI, has been notified on many occasions of drunks being allowed to drive away from the Crazy Horse, but she has ignored all requests to take action.

                            Results of DUI incident, August 11, 2004
                              ( photo by Buffalo Jim Barrier)

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Mayor Oscar Goodman have also ignored repeated complaints about the Crazy Horse being in non-compliance with Alcohol Awareness Laws. The bar is located two blocks from a low income residential neighborhood that is home to several hundred small children, causing great concern for the children's safety.

But were these people intoxicated, or were they drugged?

Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is an illicit chemical that has become a major cause of drug-related comas in the US and other countries. It is also known as the "Date Rape" drug. It is tasteless and odorless and easily mixes with alcohol. GHB is known for its ability to depress consciousness resulting in euphoria, intoxication, and even coma. GHB has grown into a medical nightmare because of its easy availability, draining emergency room services, and is still a mystery to most law enforcement officers, medical and coroner personnel who have a difficult time identifying its presence in victims.

In several instances, persons who were revived by paramedics stated that they had only consumed a few drinks, and had never experienced loss of consciousness before in their lives. Some reported that prior to losing consciousness, they were forced to place their thumbprint on a credit card receipt for an amount they say they did not charge. One complainant stated that a dancer physically placed his thumb on an ink pad, then rolled it across a credit card receipt that she signed for him just prior to his blacking out.

The male patrons interviewed for this story did not know each other and attended the bar at separate times, but coincidentally described the same two female Crazy Horse employees, one Asian, the other Russian, who reportedly were with them just prior to their being overcharged, threatened, or losing consciousness. One patron reported being charged $3,600 on his Visa, another man reported being charged $6,500, a third patron reported being charged $23,000 on his American Express by the same two-woman team.

It has been reported that the Russian woman has access to the credit card reader located behind the counter in the main entrance of the bar and is often seen working at that location.

Amazingly, since 2003, few of these incidents have been officially recorded by fire and police personnel who responded to 911 calls made by passersby and neighbors. This lack of official reporting makes the Crazy Horse look like a model citizen in comparison to its competitors including one club whose liquor license was recently revoked after a dancer was convicted of solicitation for prostitution -- the first conviction recorded against an employee of the club since it opened for business a year earlier.

The lack of recent incident reports at the Crazy Horse causes speculation that some law enforcement officials are purposely not making records of events that could jeopardize the club's license during an ongoing FBI probe. The bar had previously received 730 calls for police service in a three year period prior to 2003 -- nine for robberies and six for assaults involving bar personnel -- more that any other business in Southern Nevada. Nonetheless, the Crazy Horse Too has never been brought before the City Council to defend themselves in a license revocation action.

Crazy Horse manager Bobby D’Apice escorts paramedics into club for "coffee," 05/06/04
                                  (AmericanMafia photo by Buffalo Jim Barrier)

The Crazy Horse Too has been under federal investigation since February 21, 2003 for alleged ties to organized crime, racketeering, and political corruption. At that time, FBI and IRS agents confiscated credit card records, ATM terminals, computers, files, and video surveillance tapes. Some of the items were sent to the FBI crime lab at Quantico, Virginia to be analyzed.

Feds haul off Crazy Horse files (KVBC TV News)

It was reported that indictments against the bar's purported owner, Rick Rizzolo, and others would be handed down prior to September 2004, but in August, two events occurred which may prolong the FBI's investigation and delay indictments.

During the first part of the month, a San Diego computer programmer reported being beaten for complaining that his girlfriend had been manhandled by bar manager Vinnie Faraci. After asking to speak with Faraci, the man was reportedly punched and kicked by two bar employees, but what's more interesting is that a Metro Police Sergeant arrested the complainant and his girlfriend for assault and battery instead of arresting Faraci or the bouncers who allegedly assaulted them.

While being transported to jail, the young San Diego couple said they were asked by the Sergeant if they were planning to press counter charges against the bouncers and Faraci? They answered yes. They then said the Sergeant offered them a deal -- that if they agreed to not press charges, he would release them several blocks from the Crazy Horse. They reportedly agreed, and were released.

After spending the night in the emergency room being treated for a concussion, cuts and bruises, the couple went to the Metro front desk at City Hall and filed assault and battery charges. According to the couple, the Desk Sergeant could not find a record of their arrest the night before. Consequently, no one was prosecuted, so the couple reported the incident to the San Diego office of the FBI.

The other August 2004 incident involved a young Las Vegas attorney who stated he was forced to sign a bogus $3,000 credit card bill at the Crazy Horse Too. He told INSIDE VEGAS that when he was presented the bill, he questioned an Asian dancer who allegedly made the charges. She reportedly warned him that for his own safety he should not protest the charges, just sign, leave, and take it up with his credit card company after the fact. (Some married men in order to conceal their meanderings from their wives, have paid allegedly padded credit card bills issued by "The Power Company," the corporate name of the Crazy Horse Too.) The unmarried attorney refused to sign the tab and stated that several bouncers immediately surrounded him. Fearing for his safety, he said he signed the tab and later that day reported the incident to the Las Vegas office of the FBI.

These two incidents along with the possible drugging of Justin Cobb, may delay the federal government's legal action against the Crazy Horse Too until after the first of the year.

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