Las Vegas Sun

July 31, 2014

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Yes, Raggio burned down a Nevada brothel

Raggio’s legacy extends beyond the Legislature to Northern Nevada’s storied history with legalized prostitution.

As Washoe County district attorney in the late 1950s, Raggio made it his mission to keep prostitution-peddler Joe Conforte’s makeshift brothels out of his jurisdiction.

Before Storey County legalized prostitution, effectively sanctioning Conforte's most famous brothel the Mustang Ranch, Conforte would set up shop in trailers at the intersection of Washoe, Lyon and Storey counties. When the authorities beckoned, he would simply roll his mobile brothels over the county line into another jurisdiction. The shell game worked for a couple of years, until Raggio was elected district attorney.

Raggio made life difficult enough that Conforte sought to blackmail him with an underage consort.

The plan backfired and Conforte was ultimately convicted of extortion. With Conforte behind bars on the conviction, Raggio and other county officials famously burned down Conforte's Triangle River Ranch brothel.

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