Nation: Bringing Down the House

Three extortionists lose a $3 million gamble

A white van pulled up to the back entrance of Harvey's Resort Hotel-Casino in Stateline, Nev., about 5:30 a.m. one day last week. Out climbed two men in white coveralls who unloaded a gray, steel crate, with a small box on top, shrouded in plastic that was stamped IBM. The men carefully made their delivery to the casino's second-floor executive offices and departed.

Casino employees assumed that the containers held a new photocopying machine until someone read a three-page typewritten letter on top that said the big box contained a powerful bomb. The message demanded...

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