The Armenian Mafia – some say it exists, others say it’s a Hollywood stereotype, other still will try to convince you that isn’t and never was. Call it what you will, the group known as the Lucky 7s (that’s their Las Vegas branch, and there’s a close affiliation with AP13 out of Los Angeles) has a fairly strong hold over the Summerlin area as well as the western portion of North Las Vegas, and beyond.
While known for arms deals, which are frequent enough to give them a steady income, they maintain their day-to-day operations with white collar crimes. In Las Vegas, they mostly focus on Identity Theft and Medicare Fraud. While the FBI has been making more and more arrests on the theft front, the problem of the increase in organized violent crime in Clark County is purely a local concern.
It is uncertain when the Eastern European power players came to town, but they haven’t been around for all that long, comparatively speaking. Increased activity came around the time of the fall of the Soviet Union. Nikolai Derdarian is presumed to have been the first mafia boss to have set up roots in Las Vegas, after migrating from Los Angeles. While in LA, he had made a name for himself among the AP13, who had been looking to expand westward. Nikolai had been given the nod to become the boss in Las Vegas. Since then, more and more Armenian families have migrated to the valley.
In 1994, Derdarian was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and he called upon his cousin, Davros Alexanyan to fill his shoes. It was an honor and with pleasure that Davros moved to the valley, migrating to the US with his wife and son (Boris Alexanyan), his daughters remaining in Eastern Europe (one is a dancer with the Moscow Ballet, the other a doctor in Armenia).
In 2006, Davros Alexanyan was killed. Although nobody could say for certain, signs pointed to Boris having a heavy hand in the shooting. Knowing that the reigns of the Lucky 7s would be handed to him in what can best be described as a monarchical inheritance, few people pointed fingers in Boris’ direction, namely because they feared they might be next in Boris’ cross hairs.
With close ties to the Eastern European and Russian Black Markets, the Lucky 7s move a fairly high volume of contraband weapons through the Las Vegas Valley. But the ironically peaceful and business-like transactions aren’t as notable as the violent crimes that the Lucky 7s are known for.
A lot of their crimes start as Missing Persons cases. Bodies are found in the desert as urban and residential development spills into the open desert outside the Las Vegas Beltway. More recently, a homicide of note took place just off of Oak Creek Canyon road outside of the Red Rock Canyon loop. During a controlled burn of vegetation (performed to control wildfires), the authorities were called in to investigate a burning car. It was far too late for the people in the vehicle to be saved, as the car went unnoticed for quite some time, since the orange glow was presumed to simply be the glow from the controlled fire.
Presumably, the people inside the vehicle had been alive when the fire had been started. According to coroner reports, they had been bound, and likely beaten to unconsciousness before being placed in the back seat of the car. Fractured skulls on two of the men, and both humerus and one ulnar bone broken in the third victim’s arms indicated that the trauma on each of them had been recent. Motive and suspects have not yet been suggested, but those who know the underworld have suspicions of the Lucky 7s being involved, potentially for an arms deal gone bad.
Despite the distance from the area of town that they control, the business side of AP 777 resides at the Mandalay Bay Casino at the south end of The Strip.