Palms casino in Vegas faces $1 million fine in drug sting

In one sting, a bottle runner at Rain nightclub agreed to track down prostitutes for a patron. After failing to find the women, the runner reached into a front pocket and produced $100 of cocaine for the undercover agent.

LAS VEGAS — The company that owns the Palms Casino Resort said Friday it will pay $1 million in fines after Palms workers accepted payments to supply prostitutes, cocaine and pain pills in a series of stings last year.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board detailed the shady dealings at Palms nightclubs in a complaint filed Friday, and the owner of the Palms, FP Holdings LP, said it would to pay the penalty for failing to prevent the illegal transactions.

Among other offenses, the complaint said employees of the resort just west of the Las Vegas Strip offered to sell undercover agents ecstasy, the prescription painkiller oxycodone, and $18,000 worth of cocaine last March.

In one sting, a bottle runner at Rain nightclub agreed to track down prostitutes for a patron. After failing to find the women, the runner reached into a front pocket and produced $100 of cocaine for the undercover agent.

A Moon nightclub host responded to an undercover agent who asked for "party favors" by offering up "$100 of blow."

The commission worked with Metro Police on the stings. Police held off on making arrests during the operation, but some are now imminent, according to Lt. Dave Logue of the department's criminal intelligence section.

Authorities said they targeted the Palms because they suspected its nightclubs. The last comparable operation took place at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino three years ago, Logue said.

Casino bosses were "concerned and disappointed" to learn of the activities apparently rampant at their nightclubs, Palms spokesman Alex Acuna said in a statement.

"We are resolved to address these problems comprehensively and decisively," he said.

Acuna said that since March, the Palms has implemented mandatory drug testing, set up a whistle-blower system and made changes in its security department to discourage employees from straying outside the law to meet customers' requests.

The casino has also installed "amnesty boxes" at club entrances, where patrons can dump drugs before entering the casino without fear of legal repercussions.

The $1 million fine must be approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission. The Palms has also agreed to pay $78,000 for investigation expenses.

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