||New England| Steven Flemmi
Birth: 1934 - Roxburry, Massachusetts
Steven Flemmi was born in 1935 to Italian parents. His father was wa WOI veteran who fought for the Italian army. Steven followed the footsteps of his father joining the US military and fighting in the Korean War. When Steven returned to the United States, he joined Joe Barboza's crew. Barboza had good connections with the Patriarca Crime Family, headed by Raymond Patriarca and the Winter Hill Gang, headed by Buddie McLean and Howie Winter. When in the 1960's the Irish gang wars broke out, he and Barboza's crew were involved in several contract killings and backed the Winter Hill Gang. In 1965 Flemmi was secretly approached by FBI agents and gave them inside information about the Charleston gang leading to the arrest of his enemies and the protection of his allies. In 1966 Buddie McLean was murdered leaving Howie Winter in charge of the Winter Hill Gang.
In 1965, James J. Bulger was released from Federal prison after serving a nine year sentence for robbing banks. After a few years of working as a janitor, he became an enforcer for South Boston mob boss Donald Killeen. After Killeen was murdered by an enforcer for the Mullen Gang, Winter Hill Gang boss Howie Winter mediated the dispute between Bulger and the remaining Killeens and the Mullens, who were led by Patrick Nee. Likely due to his talent for making money on the streets, Winter soon chose Bulger as his man in South Boston. Shortly afterwards, Bulger became partners with Flemmi. At this time, the Boston FBI office tried to convince Bulger to become an informant, but he refused. Although he had followed Flemmi's example by 1975, how and why he did so continues to be disputed.
FBI agent John Connolly, who grew up with Bulger in South Boston, Massachusetts, always claimed that he reached an agreement with Bulger during a late night meeting inside an unmarked car. According to Flemmi, Bulger became an informant on his own and quickly learned of his partner's secret as well. In a conversation that Flemmi fully expected to be his last, Bulger allegedly told Flemmi that he know his secret. Flemmi has insisted that he did not know at the time that Bulger was also an informant. Weeks, however, insists that Flemmi's story is untrue. He considers it too much of a coincidence that Bulger became an informant a year after becoming Flemmi's partner. He has written of his belief that Flemmi had probably helped to build a Federal case against him. He has said and that Bulger was likely "caught between a rock and a hard place;" supply information to the FBI or return to prison.
However, Flemmi and Bulger were quickly able to turn their informant status to their own advantage. John Connolly, who had been assigned to keep an eye on them, soon came to look up to Bulger and viewed him like an older brother. Federal prosecutors have since stated that Connolly discarded his moral compass, becoming, to all intents and purposes, a member of the Winter Hill Gang, allegedly supplying them with the names of informants and funneling bribes to at least one fellow agent. In 1979, the U.S. Attorney indicted the leadership of the Winter Hill Gang, including boss Howie Winter, on extortion, gambling, and racketeering charges. Flemmi and Bulger were both listed as unindicted co-defendants; Connolly had convinced his FBI superiors that his two informants were too valuable to prosecute. At that time, Irish gangsters were not the Boston FBI's main concern; they wanted to destroy the Patriarca crime family. Then, as now, arrests and trials of Italian-American mobsters garnered far more of the publicity on which the FBI's funding depends. After the conviction of Winter and his associates, the leadership of the Winter Hill Gang devolved on Bulger, who chose Flemmi as his lieutenant. The pair moved the gang's headquarters to the Lancaster Street Garage in Boston's West End.
The three murders
Between 1983 and 1985, while still an FBI informant, Flemmi murdered three people in the same house with the help of Bulger and Weeks, then a young mobster who had recently risen from saloon bouncer to Bulger's closest associate.
The first victim was Arthur Barrett, a safecracker and successful drug dealer who reported to Joe Murray of Charlestown, Massachusetts. In 1980, Barret robbed the Depositor's Trust Bank in Medford, Massachusetts of $2.5 million. Naturally, Bulger, Flemmi, and Weeks wanted their "cut", but Barret gave them nothing. To make matters worse, Barret gave $100,000 to Frank Salemme, a former Winter Hill Gang member and close friend of Flemmi. Salemme, who was in Federal prison at the time, had become a made man in the Patriarca family. Although he held off on shaking down Barrett out of respect for Salemme, Bulger filed Barrett's behavior away for future reference. In 1983, Bulger, Flemmi and Weeks learned that Barrett was involved in fencing stolen diamonds. With Weeks posing as a diamond dealer, they lured Barrett to a house on East Third Street in South Boston. Bulger spent several hours grilling Barrett on the drug business of Joe Murray, whom he intended to shake down. After taking him to the basement, Bulger shot Barrett in the back of the head. Flemmi cut off his feet and hands and then pulled out his teeth so that the body could not be identified in any way. Weeks and Flemmi buried Barrett in the basement.
The second victim was John McIntyre, a 32 year old drug smuggler of mixed Irish and German descent. Like many of Boston's Irish Americans, he was also an avid sympathizer of the Irish Republican Army. McIntyre had informed on the Valhalla arms trafficking deal between the Winter Hill Gang and the Provos. Like Barret, McIntyre was lured to the house and killed in the basement. Bulger shot McIntyre in the back of the head with a .22 calibre rifle. However, Flemmi insisted that McIntyre was still alive and lifted McIntyre up by his hair. Bulger then pumped five or six more shots into McIntyre's face. According to Weeks, Flemmi then asked whether he could "autopsy" the corpse to "look inside," Bulger responded by ordering him to just bury the body. Bulger then laughed and told Weeks, "I told you Doctor Mengele was crazy." Weeks and Flemmi buried McIntyre's remains just like they had done with Barret.
The final victim was Debbie Hussey, the estranged daughter of Flemmi's common law wife Marion Hussey. Flemmi was enraged that Debra had been using drugs, working as a stripper in Boston's North End, and bringing black men to the house he shared with her mother in suburban Medford, Massachusetts. Flemmi lured her to the house and Bulger helped him to strangle her. After Bulger let go his hands, Flemmi declared that she was still alive and garotted her with a length of clothesline. Weeks again was assigned to digging duty. This was the last murder in the house on East Third Street. Six months after Hussey was killed, the house was sold. The three bodies were relocated to a gully overlooking the Southeast Expressway across from Florian Hall on Hill Top Street in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
Turning up the heat
As FBI informants, Bulger and Flemmi were literally getting away with murder. However, in 1990 things began to change. The first change was the retirement of their FBI handler and longtime protector, John Connolly. The second change was a shift in focus by the FBI in Boston. The New England Mafia family was severely weakened. Former Winter Hill Gang member Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme would soon become the boss of that group. So, in 1991 the FBI finally shifted its focus to the Winter Hill Gang. They began a five year investigation of Bulger, Flemmi, Weeks, John "Red" Shea, Kevin "Turtleneck Pants" O'Neil and many other prominent members of the Winter Hill Gang. In 1992 Shea and other members of his drug ring were indicted on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) narcotics trafficking charges. In 1994, Shea took a plea deal of twelve years in prison and was released on August 2, 2002. In 1995, Flemmi and Bulger were indicted in a large-scale RICO case Three days before this indictment was unsealed, the police picked up Flemmi for a minor Class E Felony. The idea was to have him in jail when the indictments came out and prevent any chance of flight. When Bulger heard that Flemmi had been picked up, he assumed the worst and took off. As of June 2007, Bulger has been on the run for over twelve years. Realizing that the FBI had him, the ever-practical Flemmi took a plea bargain. In exchange for a life sentence on his murder charges, Flemmi testified against his former associates in the Winter Hill Gang. In 1997, Flemmi finally revealed that he had been an FBI informant since 1965 and Bulger since 1975. No one could believe it.
Bringing everyone down
Flemmi agreed to testifie against his former allies. He gave enough information to bring down Patriarca Boss'Cadillac Frank' Salemme, leading to his arrest. Another man Flemmi brought to justice was former FBI agent John Connolly. Connolly, who gained his reputation as a crime buster thanks to Bulger and Flemmi, was now arrested and sentenced by his own informants. He is scheduled for release in 2011. Whitey Bulger remains on the run and was last seen in Sicily, 2007.
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