Five suspects were arrested over the weekend in last year's $3 million extortion attempt and bombing at Harvey's Wagon Wheel hotel-casino in Stateline, Nev., the FBI announced last night.
"We can confirm the fact there have been five arrests made in the Fresno, Calif., area regarding the extortion attempt of Harvey's Wagon Wheel," FBI Agent Bill Jansen said later at Las Vegas. He declined to provide further details.
Sheriff's deputies identified three of the suspects as Terry L. Hall, 25, of Fresno, who was taken into custody at his home last night while Ella Joan William, 47, and John Birges, 58, were arrested Saturday at their home in nearby Clovis.
Deputies said William was charged with violating federal laws concerning the transportation of explosives as well as extortion and conspiracy statutes. Hall and Birges were charged with explosives violations.
In Las Vegas, KLAS-television reported that evidence found in one of the suspect's vans matched elements of the bomb and agents placed some of the suspects in the Lake Tahoe area prior to the Aug. 27, 1980, bombing. The bomb caused $3 million damage to the Lake Tahoe resort, but no one was hurt. The bomb contained 1,100 pounds of explosives and was described as "very sophisticated."
The bomb was delivered to Harvey's Wagon Wheel 34-hours before it exploded. It was wheeled into the resort in a photo copying machine box. Attached was a three-page typewritten letter demanding $3 million and warning that the bomb would explode if it were moved.
Owners of the hotel-casino attempted to deliver the $3 million extortion money via helicopter but never received a signal which the extortionists said would designate the "drop" point.