Taking Down Vegas Mobsters

Frank Cullotta, a criminal associate of the Chicago mafia, arrived in Las Vegas in 1979. He was invited by his childhood friend, mob boss Anthony ‘The Ant’ Spilotro, a notorious mafia enforcer with a deadly reputation. Frank’s task is to set up a burglary crew in Sin City.

Frank employs a corrupt insurance agent to feed them leads on rich clients houses and then devises a unique method of entry to get to the loot. They smash a hole in the wall to avoid the window and door alarms. It’s an audacious scheme, but it works. In one caper they break in through a hole in the wall, put guard dogs to sleep with ammonia and make off with over a $100,000 of merchandise.

Their escapades bring riches and notoriety. Las Vegas is a 24-hour party town and the gang gambles and spends their way through thousands of dollars. Politicians and movie stars are all attracted to the mafia party. Girls, cars, cocaine, and gambling are their vices of choice. The press label them the ‘Hole In The Wall Gang’ and their flamboyance and notoriety do not go unnoticed by law enforcement.

With murder, burglary and organized crime figures increasing, the FBI starts an investigation into the Chicago Outfit’s operation in Las Vegas. Their number one target is Frank’s boss, Tony Spilotro. FBI agent Dennis Arnoldy is assigned to the case in 1980 and undergoes a series of high-level surveillance on the pair. But Arnoldy knows that if they want to get to Spilotro, they will need to find an informant on the inside who can lead them to the mafia boss.

Just as Frank Cullotta is planning an audacious burglary on one of Las Vegas’ biggest jewellery stores, Dennis Arnoldy meets with a known government witness who promises to help him gather information on Frank’s crew. Now with a man on the inside, the FBI is one step closer to busting Cullotta and ultimately Spilotro.

The informant, Sal Romano, manages to convince one of Frank’s gang to include him on their biggest heist – on Bertha’s’ Jewellery Store. But Frank doesn’t trust Sal Romano and in a show down with his boss, Frank threatens to pass on the Bertha’s score. Tony Spilotro then makes a crucial mistake. He orders Frank to pull off the robbery with Sal Romano in the gang. It’s a decision that starts the gradual unfolding of The Outfit’s grip on Vegas.

The informant gives the FBI all the information they will need to plan a sting on Cullotta’s crew. On the night of July 4th, 1981 Dennis leads the arrest team in a spectacular bust on the roof of Bertha’s. Patrol cars and agents descend on Frank Cullotta. The Police and FBI round up the whole gang.

With his lieutenant in custody and fearing that Frank may turn witness against him, The Outfit issues a hit on Frank Cullotta. Now with his life under threat, Frank faces a decision that will change his life forever. To run from The Outfit or turn to the U.S. Marshals’ Witness Protection Program and give evidence against Tony Spilotro.

In a series of candid interviews with agent Dennis Arnoldy, Frank Cullotta finally lifts the lid on his life of crime and his testimonies form the basis of the FBI’s case against Spilotro and the Chicago Mob.

Tune in to Locked Up Abroad: Vegas Mobsters tonight at 10P.


  1. Charlee Kone
    Salt Lake City
    May 29, 2013, 10:02 pm

    What does this episode have to do with being “locked up abroad”? It should be on some episode of “true mob stories” or whatever.

  2. FA
    May 30, 2013, 10:51 am

    You have definitely strayed from the premise of being “Locked Up Abroad”. This episode, while interesting, had nothing to do with this particular topic. Maybe the writers are running out of stories. Remember, the audience that watches Nat Geo is probably a tad better read and educated that your average “Kardashian” viewer, so it is insulting when you produce a story that does not fit into the shows premise and expect us not to notice.

  3. little kk
    las vegas
    May 30, 2013, 8:16 pm

    this guy is right what does it have to do with being locked up….he was a rat to the core a no good bull rat plus i have a feeling he lies all rats lie

  4. Paul Scharff
    Fort Worth
    June 9, 2013, 5:21 pm

    My name is Paul Scharff. My former babysitter found Frank’s book CULLOTTA. On page 130 of his book told me who killed my father 27 years earlier. It was the Hole In the Wall Gang member Larry Neumann mentioned in the show. Frank helped me in getting Larry Neumann named as the killer of my father and we have been great friends ever since. You can read more at my website www/mchenrycounty1981.com

  5. bjn
    Santa Barbara
    December 24, 2014, 9:58 pm

    This is a really interesting story- one which I’ve read about many times in different places. It’s basically part of “Casino” w/DeNiro and Pesci, and I’ve read several books on these events. Very well done show. However…..as commenters above have mentioned: this has NOTHING to do with being Locked up Abroad! I can’t find one single thing about it that qualifies…..I wondered if there had been a mistake and this episode got bundled in the wrong package or something……LUA is a terrific show, but let’s keep to the theme, okay?