Police arrest 2 linked to Bulger
Move is expected to further isolate fugitive
By Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff, 11/18/1999
Two longtime associates of fugitive South Boston crime boss James J.
"Whitey" Bulger were arrested yesterday afternoon on federal charges in a move
that could signal the end of the notorious gangster's criminal organization
and make it tougher for him to survive on the lam, according to sources.
Kevin Weeks, 43, of South Boston, and Kevin O'Neil, 51, of Quincy, were
arrested by investigators from the Massachusetts State Police, the US Drug
Enforcement Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service on a federal
complaint that remained sealed last night.
But sources familiar with the case said Weeks is charged with extortion for
allegedly kidnapping a reputed bookmaker who failed to pay tribute to the
Bulger organization and demanding ransom.
The alleged victim, Kevin Hayes, was fired in August from his job as
custodian of the City of Boston's voting machines after he was indicted by
Attorney General Thomas Reilly's office on charges stemming from a ticket
agency business he ran out of the Park Plaza Hotel.
Hayes faces larceny charges for being a no-show at his city job and tax
evasion charges for allegedly failing to report profits from his ticket agency
business, according to the indictment.
Sources said Hayes was allegedly kidnapped several years ago by a group of
men, including Weeks, who threatened to kill him if he didn't pay a
Hayes was recently compelled to testify about the kidnapping before a
federal grand jury after he was granted immunity, sources said.
Attorney Thomas Drechsler, who represents the Dorchester man in the larceny
and tax evasion case pending in Suffolk Superior Court, declined to comment
Weeks and O'Neil are scheduled to appear today in US District Court in
Boston for a bail hearing.
Assistant US Attorney James Herbert, chief of the Strike Force in US
Attorney Donald K. Stern's office, declined to comment on the case But sources
familiar with the probe said the charges against Weeks and O'Neil are a
precursor to a sweeping federal racketeering indictment that will likely date
back several decades and include Bulger - who has been a fugitive since 1995 -
and Bulger's longtime sidekick Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi.
A January 1995 racketeering case against Bulger, Flemmi, reputed New
England Mafia boss Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme, and Robert DeLuca has yet
to go to trial. After lengthy pretrial hearings, a federal judge has
threatened to dismiss some or all of the charges against Flemmi and Bulger,
both longtime FBI informants.
The hearings last year before US District Judge Mark L. Wolf exposed the
FBI's cozy relationship with Bulger and Flemmi, which included ignoring their
crimes and tipping them off to investigations.
Both Weeks and O'Neil were mentioned throughout the hearings by witnesses
who linked them to serious crimes, including the shakedowns of legitimate
businessmen. Some of those cases could show up in a racketeering indictment
against the pair.
South Boston real estate agent Raymond Slinger testified during the
hearings that Bulger held a gun to his head in 1987 and ordered Weeks and
O'Neil to fetch a body bag for Slinger. His life was spared, Slinger said,
when he agreed to pay Bulger $50,000.
Slinger said the confrontation happened at Triple O's, O'Neil's West
Broadway bar, at a meeting arranged by O'Neil.
Slinger testified that he paid O'Neil installments totaling $25,000 before
O'Neil cancelled the remainder of the debt after learning Slinger had been
interviewed about the extortion by FBI agents. Bulger was an FBI informant at
the time and the FBI apparently failed to pursue a case against him, Weeks, or
O'Neil, according to testimony.
It was also revealed last year in court that Weeks was allegedly with
Bulger and Flemmi when they threatened a South Boston couple and forced them
to sell them their neighborhood liquor store in 1984.
The business, later renamed the South Boston Liquor Mart, was transferred
to Weeks and became Bulger's headquarters.
Today, O'Neil is listed as a trustee of the Shamrock Realty Trust, which
owns the liquor store, but Bulger holds the mortgage on the property. For two
years after Bulger fled, Shamrock Realty Trust continued to deposit mortgage
payments into his South Boston bank account, according to court records.
Weeks and O'Neil have come under scrutiny by investigators who are tracking
Bulger and suspect that some of his friends may be sending him money and
relaying messages about his organization.
This story ran on page B1 of the Boston Globe on 11/18/1999.
© Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.