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Jose Manuel Vigoa Perez, one of thousands of refugees who fled Cuba on the Mariel boatlift, arrived in Las Vegas on a blistering hot afternoon in July 1980. The bright lights and the hectic atmosphere came as a shock. “I felt like I had walked through a time tunnel and was in another world and dimension,” he later recalled.
The feeling passed. In time Mr. Vigoa was terrorizing the Strip, leading his own commando team in a series of brazen attacks on armored cars and, in his final caper, robbing the main cashier’s desk at the Bellagio. His reign of terror in 1999 and 2000 is the subject of “Storming Las Vegas,” John Huddy’s lurid, foot-to-the-floor account of the life and career of the master criminal the Las Vegas police code-named Tony Montana, after the character played by Al Pacino in “Scarface.”