Fugitive South Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, wanted for 19 murders, was captured in Southern California on June 22, 2011, the result of a tip from FBI television spots.
Here is a look at some of the men involved with Boston’s most notorious gangster (left with Kevin Weeks). Next
James ‘Whitey’ Bulger
In 1975 as a member of the Winter Hill Gang, Bulger became an FBI informant. Bulger and Stephen Flemmi helped the FBI build a case against the Italian Mafia. Bulger and Flemmi built a drug-trafficking and racketeering empire in Southie. In the early ‘90s, the FBI dropped them as informants. In 1995, federal charges were handed down against Bulger and friends. Bulger was on the run for more than 16 years until his capture on June 22, 2011.
John J. Connolly Jr.
Connolly (left, in 2008, and right in 2002) grew up in a South Boston housing project a few doors down from the Bulger family. As an FBI agent, Connolly persuaded James “Whitey” Bulger to sign on as an informant. With the help of tips from Bulger and Stephen Flemmi, the FBI began dismantling the Irish mob’s chief rivals, the Italian Mafia. Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder in 2008, for leaking information that led to the murder of John Callahan in Florida. In March 2011, Connolly lost his appeal to have that conviction overturned.
A notorious hitman, Martorano was at the center of much of the Winter Hill Gang’s dirty work in the 1970s. The Milton native has admitted to committing 20 murders between 1965 and 1982, some allegedly at the direction of “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen Flemmi—or with the gangsters’ participation. Martorano cut a deal and served only 12 years and two months in prison and became a free man in March 2007.
No one was closer to “Whitey” than Weeks. During the 1980s, he operated several stores that were fronts for Bulger. Following Bulger’s disappearance, Weeks acted as “operational chief” of the organization. In 1999, facing federal racketeering charges, Weeks agreed to cooperate with the government. In 2000, he led police to the bodies of eight alleged Bulger victims. He served five years and three months in prison. Weeks co-wrote a book titled, “Where’s Whitey?” released in 2010.
Stephen J. Flemmi
Bulger’s front man, “The Rifleman,” collected money from bookies and inspired fear in those who didn’t pay on time. Arrested in 1995, he fought charges on grounds that the FBI had granted him permission to commit certain crimes short of murder while he worked as an informant. A judge ruled that the gangsters had received no promise of immunity, and Flemmi was sentenced in August 2001 to 10 years. Flemmi also pleaded guilty in 2004 to 10 murders.
As head of the FBI’s Boston organized crime squad, Morris supervised Connolly and oversaw the cultivation of Bulger and Flemmi as informants. In 1998, Morris confirmed allegations of FBI misconduct. He admitted that he told Connolly about an informant who had implicated Bulger and Flemmi in a murder. The informant, Edward “Brian” Halloran, wound up dead. He retired from the FBI in 1995 and lives in Florida.
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