Las Vegas Shooting Near Mandalay Bay Casino Kills 50

Las Vegas Shooting Near Mandalay Bay Casino Kills 50

LAS VEGAS — A gunman on a high floor of a Las Vegas hotel rained a rapid-fire barrage on a huge outdoor concert festival on Sunday night, killing more than 50 people, injuring hundreds of others, and sending thousands of terrified survivors fleeing for cover, in one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history.

Online video of the attack near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino showed the singer Jason Aldean performing outside at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music event, interrupted by the sound of automatic gunfire. The music stopped, and as victims fell, bleeding, concertgoers screamed, ducked for cover, or ran.

“Get down,” one shouted. “Stay down,” screamed another.

“Currently the Clark County Fire Department is estimating the injuries to be well over 400” Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said on Monday morning. One of those killed was an off-duty Las Vegas police officer, the department said.

He said there were about 22,000 people at the concert.

SWAT units swarmed the upper floors of the Mandalay Bay, closing in on the source of the shooting, a 32nd-floor room where they found the gunman, with “in excess of 10 rifles,” the sheriff said. “We believe the individual killed himself prior to our entry.”

The first reports of the shooting came at 10:08 p.m. local time, and officers overheard on police radio reported being pinned down by gunfire. Shortly before midnight the Las Vegas police reported that “one suspect is down,” and soon after the police said they did not believe there were any more active gunmen.

The sheriff identified the gunman as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nev., who had no significant prior criminal history.

Before dawn on Monday, Mr. Lombardo said the police were executing a search warrant on Mr. Paddock’s home, adding, “We’re going to clear the residence first for any possible explosives, so that will be slow and methodical.”

Eric Paddock, a brother of Stephen Paddock who lives in Orlando, Fla., told The Orlando Sentinel that he had made a statement to the police. “We are completely dumbfounded,” he said. “We can’t understand what happened.”

Laith Alkhouri, a senior analyst at Flashpoint Global Partners, a security consulting firm in New York that tracks militant websites, said that he had seen no information yet on whether the suspect acted out of political motivation or grievance, or something else.

Video of the shooting captured nine seconds of rapid-fire, continuous bursts, followed by 37 seconds of silence from the weapon amid panicked screaming. The barrage of gunfire then erupted again in at least two more rounds, both shorter than the first.

In the confusion after the shooting, the police also descended on the Ali Baba Restaurant, about a 10-minute drive from the Mandalay Bay, and they also investigated reports of a shooting at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino, not far from the concert ground.

The police reported clearing out the Mandalay Bay’s 29th floor and working their way up to the 32nd floor. A police Twitter post described reports of an “active shooter” near or around the Mandalay Bay casino.

Video from the shooting showed Mr. Aldean, the final performer of the night, running off the stage as the gunfire erupted.

Jake Owen, a country singer who was on stage with Mr. Aldean when the shooting began, told CNN on Monday that it was like “shooting fish in a barrel from where he was.”

“This is not an exaggeration: This shooting was going on for at least 10 minutes,” he added. “It was nonstop.”

Concertgoers described hearing round after round of gunfire. “Everyone was running, you could see people getting shot,” Gail Davis, one of the witnesses, said. “I’ve never been that scared in my life,” she added. “To have this happen, I can’t wrap my mind around it.”

“It just kept coming,” one of the witnesses, Robyn Webb, told The Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It was relentless.”

They said they saw about 20 people bleeding in the street.

“That’s when we knew for sure it was real,” said her companion, Matt Webb.

A photo posted by a Review-Journal photographer showed emergency responders transporting one injured person in a wheelbarrow.

As survivors poured into surrounding streets and buildings, and the police and paramedics streamed into the scene, unsure how many gunmen there were, the massacre shut down roads and highways; the police reported closing off about a mile of Las Vegas Boulevard and asked the public to steer clear of the area. Hours later, much of the city remained at shut down.

McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas said that some flights destined for the airport were diverted because of police activity. The airport is just east of the Mandalay hotel, and after the shooting there were reports of people fleeing the concert by running onto an airport runway.

The hotel itself was placed on virtual lockdown after the shooting, guests said.

“We went into the hotel and they started shutting down casinos,” Todd Price, a guest of Mandalay Bay, told CNN. “We tried to get into our rooms, and they shut down the elevators and started to get everybody out.”

The Route 91 Harvest Festival bills itself as “three days of country music on the Vegas Strip,” and Sunday night’s performance was the last of the festival. The site of the concert, the Las Vegas Village and Festival Grounds, run by MGM Resorts, sprawls over 15 acres and has a capacity of 40,000 people. The festival’s website said this year’s three-day concert was sold out.

In the first hours after the shooting, the police searched for a woman described as “a companion” of the gunman, Marilou Danley. Later, the sheriff said she had been located out of the country, and apparently was not with Mr. Paddock when he checked into the hotel, but that “he was utilizing some of her identification.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/02/us/las-vegas-shooting.html?mcubz=0

A True Tale of Drug Cartels, Money Laundering and Horse Racing

A True Tale of Drug Cartels, Money Laundering and Horse Racing

By 

In September 2010, bettors at the All American Futurity race in New Mexico watched the long-shot Mr. Piloto gallop to the million-dollar first prize by less than a nose, the second-closest win in the race’s history. Meanwhile, over the border in Mexico, a gang of drug traffickers from the Zetas cartel cheered the victory with whiskey, from a safe house. Mr. Piloto was registered to the company of a Dallas bricklayer named José Treviño Morales, but the money to buy him had come from his brother Miguel Treviño, alias “El Cuarenta,” a Zeta boss blamed for some of the worst massacres in Mexico’s drug war. Bloodstained dollars had gone from American drug users over the Rio Grande to cartel killers, and then back north into the American racing industry.

The true-life tale of the Zetas’ foray into quarter horses is masterfully recounted by the journalist Joe Tone in his debut book, “Bones.” He shines a light on an often overlooked corner of the blood bath ravaging Mexico: how cartel money is laundered in the United States. In this case, federal agents finally busted the operation, seizing more than 400 “narco horses,” which they auctioned off for $12 million. But with Americans estimated to spend $100 billion a year on illegal drugs, this is probably just the tip of an iceberg.

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Miguel Treviño MoralesCreditU.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

In addition to following the drug money, Tone has found a great yarn. His finely-painted cast of characters includes a rookie F.B.I. agent hungry to make his name, a Texas cowboy fighting to keep his family business afloat and a talented Mexican horseman picking winners for a very dangerous boss. Tone weaves the threads together with skillful pacing and sharp prose, marking him as an important new talent in narrative nonfiction.

He is helped along by ample documentation of the case. While much of the narco world remains in the shadows, Treviño and his cronies were brought to trial in Austin, in 2013, in one of the most extensive lawsuits against a Mexican cartel to be heard in an American courtroom. (Major Mexican traffickers often don’t go to trial, because they cut deals.) Even though he builds on the reporting of Ginger Thompson, who broke the story in The New York Times, Tone adds some vivid details, recounting wiretapped phone calls and drawing the full back story from Lawson, the rookie F.B.I. agent who pursued the case. “Lawson could hear the horses if he listened closely,” Tone writes. “He was standing outside the black-iron gate with the horse silhouettes, at the bottom of a long driveway that led up to José’s brick homestead. It was a little after six in the morning, the earliest moment the court would allow them to raid without a judge’s permission.”

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Tone digs deep into the colorful world of quarter-horse racing, a variant of the sport developed by white cowboys, Mexican ranchers and Native Americans. He also shows how some players in the horse industry reaped the drug money and went on to enjoy their profits; how those arrested were all Hispanic while some white horsemen doing similar things remained free; how José Treviño’s daughter, a college student who married a Marine, was caught up in the sweep.

Like many journalists of the drug war, Tone sheds doubt on the whole strategy of fighting the trade. “Better answers might lie in the halls of American power and influence — in the way drugs are regulated, drug users treated, drug traffickers sentenced.” He is right to push for more debate on how to stop the billions of drug dollars from funding the crime armies tearing Mexico apart. But law enforcement agents still need to keep hacking at the tentacles of cartel finances that stretch through the United States, where the blood wealth of narcos could be right before your eyes.

Russian government targets money laundering, terrorism sponsorship with new proposals

The Russian government has drafted a bill that, if passed, would oblige auditors to report any operations conducted by their clients that raise suspicion of money laundering or sponsorship of terrorism.

The draft was signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last week, but the text of the document was published on the government’s web-site this Tuesday. It orders that the Federal Law on Countering Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorist Organizations be amended, as well as the Law on Auditing Activities.

The proposed amendments make it obligatory for auditing companies and individual auditors to report all financial operations that could be part of suspicious deals to the authorities. Suspicious deals are defined as those that could be used for laundering criminal income or financing terrorism.

 Explanations attached to the document note that it had been developed based on recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, of which Russia is a member.

Russia’s current anti-terrorist law, which was introduced in mid-2016, stipulates a sentence of up to 15 years behind bars for anyone found guilty of financing terrorist groups. Money laundering carries prison sentences of up to seven years, as well as large fines and bans on taking certain public posts.

https://www.rt.com/politics/382551-russian-pm-orders-lawmakers-to/

Photo: Maksim Bogodvid / Sputnik

Three, including girl, 16, charged with planning ‘imminent terror attack’ in France

A TEENAGE girl, 16, is among three people charged over plans to carry out an “imminent terror attack” in France after police reportedly found explosives in a flat.

According to reports, the group was arrested in Montpelier, on Friday on suspicion of planning an “explosive belt” attack in an area popular with tourists.

Judicial sources have told local media that three of the four arrested have been charged. The three were identified as Thomas Sauret, 20; his partner, a 16-year-old minor named only as Sarah; and Malik Hammami, 33. They were indicted on Tuesday for “criminal association in connection with a criminal terrorist enterprise”, sources said.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2867018/three-including-girl-16-charged-with-planning-imminent-terror-attack-in-france/