Feature Articles

November 20, 2000

Round Up The Usual Suspects 2

By John William Tuohy

John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washingon, D.C.

compiled by John William Tuohy

Massachusetts: Investigators digging in a suspected mob burial ground for two murder victims found the remains of a man and said they would continue looking for a second victim. Authorities were believed to be looking for the remains of Debbie Davis, last seen in 1981, and Tommy King, who disappeared in 1975. Davis was the girlfriend of Stephen ``The Rifleman'' Flemmi, an associate of fugitive mob boss James ``Whitey'' Bulger. King vanished after a bar fight with Bulger. The man's remains were found in a marshy area under a subway trestle not far from a house Bulger once lived in near the Neponset River.

     The body found Thursday was the fifth alleged victim of Bulger that state and federal investigators have uncovered in three burial sites since January.

     Police have said investigators were acting on the same information that led them to the skeletal remains, thought to be Bulger rival Paul McGonagle, found in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood last week. Three other sets of remains believed to be Bulger victims were found in the same neighborhood earlier this year.

     The tips leading to the discovery of the remains reportedly came from Bulger lieutenant Kevin Weeks who pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges in July and is cooperating with authorities.

Rome: Italy has sent some 500 police to the Naples area to combat a new wave of Mafia crime there.

England: British gangster Reggie Kray has been discharged from hospital where he was being treated for terminal cancer and sent home, the hospital said on Friday.

     Kray, 66, was freed from jail on compassionate grounds last month after serving more than 30 years for the murder of Jack ``The Hat'' McVitie, a London gangland figure.

     Doctors said in August that Kray, the last survivor of three criminal brothers, had only weeks to live.

     He was jailed with his twin Ronnie in 1969. Ronnie died in Broadmoor prison in 1995. Elder brother Charlie died in jail in April, serving a sentence for plotting to smuggle cocaine.

     Reggie and Ronnie ruled London's East End underworld in the 1960s. The twins indulged in a lethal criminal racket by day and rubbed shoulders with celebrities by night.

Taipei: A Taiwanese politician who's been linked to organized crime was elected to a key posts in Taiwan's parliament in a nation vowing to clean up its image.

     Taiwan independent legislator Lo Fu-chu, an alleged member of the organized crime organization Tiendaomeng, was elected a convener of the judicial committee.

     More than a dozen Taiwan politicians and business executives have been arrested since President Chen Shui-bian, honoring a campaign promise, initiated a crackdown on corruption in August.

New York: Victoria Gotti, daughter of imprisoned mob boss John Gotti, is seeking a divorce from her jailed husband.

New York: Emmy-winning "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini has just signed a renegotiated contract that will pay him about $10 million for the next two seasons of the HBO drama.

     Gandolfini now earns $5 million a feature and could earn much more than his television salary if he concentrated on films. The campaign to keep Gandolfini happy and running the Soprano crime family for as many as three more seasons follows HBO and Grey's renegotiation earlier this year to keep creator David Chase running the show for two more seasons for an eight-figure sum. Chase's deal includes a greenlight on his scripted feature ``If I Fell.''

Australia: Police raids in three states have netted drugs, firearms and a crocodile from properties belonging to the Rebels motorcycle club.

     Two people in Western Australia and four in Queensland associated with the gang have been charged.

     Raids in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast led to the seizure of firearms, drugs and a crocodile.

     Raids have also been carried out in New South Wales.

     Acting Superintendent Jim Migro says armed tactical response officers used welding equipment to break into the Rebels headquarters in Perth

Washington: Justice Department officials assigned to train foreign police were responsible for "pervasive, recurrent and persistent" security violations in the mid-1990s, a report by the department's inspector general concludes.      The report says Justice Department employees also repeatedly mishandled sensitive information .

     The inspector general's 414-page report is expected to be the focus of a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

     The violations allegedly were committed by officials in the Justice Department's Criminal Division, responsible for a program, called the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program, or ICITAP, that trains police in emerging democracies, including former Soviet republics. The employees handle classified information about the internal workings of foreign police.

     In one example given by the report, the former chief administrative officer of the Criminal Division, who oversaw the program, had improper relationships with two women in Russia. That, combined with his top-secret security clearance, made him ``vulnerable to blackmail or extortion,'' the report said.

Mexico: The Mexican government has taken over the running of a national car registry after one of its private operators was accused of being an Argentine ''Dirty War'' torturer and its chief architect committed suicide.

     The trade ministry, which put together the controversial Renave program and handed the concession to run it to Argentine firm Talsud and two Mexican partners, said it would administer the scheme, relaunch it and evaluate whether the concession itself should be revoked.

     Renave, aimed at creating a national car ownership database to confound the nation's powerful car theft mafias, has faced stiff public opposition since it came into effect in May.

Tokyo: According to police the Japanese Mafia, the Yakuza, is turning to E crime, or crime involving high technology.

New York: Governor George Pataki signed a bill today that closes loopholes and toughens penalties for criminal money laundering. Authorities estimate that as much as $100 billion a year is illegally laundered through New York City banks and other financial institutions.

     Law enforcement officials said money laundering by drug dealers and organized crime has increased in recent years as a result of what Pataki described as the ``huge surge of activity on Wall Street.''

     The new law makes it a crime to use such money to buy luxury items, including cars and boats. That was not considered a crime under the old statute.

     The law also allows prosecutors to combine illegal monetary transfers so the total qualifies for a more serious felony charge. It creates four new felony crimes and increases the maximum prison term to 25 years for the most serious violations.

     Thomas Baxter, general counsel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, told a recent meeting of financial industry executives that New York City has been designated a ``high risk money laundering and financial crime area'' by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mr. Tuohy can be reached at

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