PAHRUMP (KLAS) — It’s a story with all the makings of a wild west movie: casino executive Ted Binion’s suspicious death, buried silver and never found gold and diamonds, a treasure map, and possible arson is beginning a new chapter.
The 138-acre Pahrump property where Binion’s silver stash was hidden before his untimely death has been sold. The ranch property is in the middle of Pahrump behind Walmart near Highway 160 and Wilson Road. According to Nye County Assessor records, the property sold for $1.9 million to MACKK, LLC, based in Henderson. The sale closed on Mar. 31.
The new owners have not yet released plans for the property, according to a report in the town’s newspaper.
BINION’S SUSPICIOUS DEATH
Ted Binion bought the Pahrump property on June 30, 1997, but died under suspicious circumstances in Las Vegas just seven months later. His death was ruled an overdose, then reclassified as a homicide.
Days after his death, more than 24 tons of silver bars Binion had stashed in a vault in his Pahrump home were stolen.
Binion’s girlfriend Sandra Murphy and her lover Rick Tabish were accused of first-degree murder, grand larceny, and burglary for conspiring to steal his silver and coins worth $7 million. In 2000, a jury found the couple guilty of first-degree murder, but in 2003 both were acquitted of the murder. The grand larceny and burglary for the buried silver were upheld. Murphy was released a month after her acquittal due to time served, while Tabish became eligible for parole on April 2, 2010.
BINION’S BURIED TREASURE
During Tabish’s arrest, police found a treasure map in his apartment, which led to an empty hole where the X marked the spot.
Then in 2000, with the threat of criminal charges looming, the former ranch manager at Binion’s property tried to trade immunity in exchange for telling authorities where Binion’s buried diamonds and Double Eagle gold pieces were. Police dug where he told them but found nothing.
In 2010, the television news show 48 Hours looked for it and used ground-penetrating radar that located 20 possible sites in the backyard. All came up empty.
Even the local district attorney in 2000, David Roger, told 8 News Now that the possibility of finding buried treasure on the ranch is about a five on a scale of one to ten. “We had metal detectors. We had a huge front loader, and we just didn’t find anything. Maybe there is some silver out there, and it has a lot of intrigue for sure,” Roger said.
After almost 20 years, in 2019, Nye County detectives were looking for three men who were on a treasure hunt for Binion’s silver and gold after they were recorded sneaking onto the property and digging for it. One of the men, Richard Cleaves, who worked on the Binion ranch, was arrested. Cleves had also trespassed from it while trying to dig in Jan. 2017.
According to the Pahrump Valley Times, two suspicious fires on the property destroyed a horse stable and storage structure. While never confirmed, rumor had it that there was an underground tunnel beneath the storage shed.
Above is a story produced by the 8 News Now I-Team in 2019 about the investigation into the men digging on the recently sold property.