US detectives investigating a possible decades-old mob murder said Thursday they found a gun near the spot on an evaporating lake bed in Las Vegas where a body was discovered in a barrel.
Scores of bodies have been discovered around rapidly retreating Lake Mead this year, with mafia watchers speculating the body in the barrel was the work of gangsters from the gambling paradise’s criminal past.
Police have released few details about the finds, but the victim, discovered in May, was shot in the head and stuffed in a barrel before being thrown overboard – a trademark of hitmen who stalked Las Vegas in the 1970s and 1980s .
“A firearm was recovered on August 17, 2022 in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, in close proximity to where one of the human remains was found,” Las Vegas police tweeted.
However, they added that it was too early to determine if this was related to the current investigation.
A police spokesman confirmed that the gun discovered by a journalist was near where the barrel was found.
Days after the body appeared in the barrel, another body was reported. A third was spotted in July.
Two more skeletal remains were found in the Swim Beach area this month.
A historic drought that has engulfed much of the western United States is straining water sources as reservoirs and lakes sink to record lows.
Lake Mead was once 365 meters above sea level. But after more than two decades of drought, it’s shrinking rapidly.
As of Thursday, it stood at just 1,042 feet — near the lowest level since the reservoir was filled in the 1930s.
Scientists say human-caused climate change, fueled by the uncontrolled burning of hydrocarbons for energy, is exacerbating the natural cycle of drought.
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