Feature Articles

December 11, 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

(US Government release) A superseding racketeering indictment was unsealed in federal court charging JAMES J. BULGER and STEPHEN J. FLEMMI for their roles in numerous murders as part of their leadership from the early 1970s through the late 1990s of an organized crime group that controlled extortion, drug dealing, and other rackets in South Boston and elsewhere throughout the metropolitan Boston area.
     BULGER and FLEMMI are charged with participating in eighteen and ten murders respectively.
     The superseding indictment was returned in a case in which "Bulger Group" members KEVIN J. WEEKS and KEVIN P. O'NEIL had previously been charged with extortion and money laundering offenses. Weeks has since pled guilty to racketeering, murder, extortion and money laundering charges.
     The superseding indictment renews and expands existing money laundering and extortion charges against O'NEIL.
     United States Attorney Donald K. Stern announced today that the new Bulger Group indictment includes charges relating to the following twenty-one murders:

Victim                             Approximate Date

Michael Milano                     March 8, 1973
Al Plummer                         March 19, 1973
William O'Brien                    March 24, 1973
James Leary                        April 3, 1973
Joseph Notorangeli                 April 18, 1973
James O'Toole                      December 1, 1973
Al Notorangeli                     February 21, 1974
James Sousa                        October 1974
Paul McGonagle                     November 1974
Edward Connors                     June 12, 1975
Thomas King                        November 5, 1975
Francis Leonard                    November 6, 1975
Richard Castucci                   December 30, 1976
Roger Wheeler                      May 27, 1981
Debra Davis                        Late 1981
Brian Halloran                     May 11, 1982
Michael Donahue                    May 11, 1982
John Callahan                      August 1, 1982
Arthur Barrett                     August 1983
John McIntyre                      November 30, 1984
Deborah Hussey                     Early 1985

     Neither BULGER nor FLEMMI is charged with participating directly in the Leary and Notorangeli murders. The superseding indictment describes a pattern by which BULGER, FLEMMI and other members of their organization promoted and protected their criminal ventures by engaging in extensive and violent efforts to obstruct justice.
     These activities included not only witness tampering, corruption of law enforcement officials, and lengthy and far-flung flights from arrest and prosecution, but also murders designed to eliminate actual and potential witnesses.
     The murders of Richard Castucci, Brian Halloran, Michael Donahue, John Callahan, and John McIntyre are described as resulting from efforts to prevent possible cooperation and testimony against BULGER, FLEMMI and other Bulger Group members about their participation in murders and other crimes.
     Other victims are described as having been killed for a variety of reasons that furthered the criminal objectives of BULGER, FLEMMI and their organization.
     Roger Wheeler, a prominent Tulsa, Oklahoma business leader, was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa as Bulger Group members tried to gain control of World Jai Alai, one of Wheeler's companies.
     BULGER and FLEMMI are charged with murdering two young women, Debra Davis and Deborah Hussey, during the 1980s after determining that each posed a threat to FLEMMI and to the organization.
     The superseding indictment charges that the Bulger Group murdered Michael Milano, Al Plummer, William O'Brien, James Leary, Joseph Notorangeli, and Al Notorangeli in the course of an early 1970s conspiracy whereby members of the Bulger Group sought to eliminate a rival Boston criminal group headed by Al Notorangeli.
     According to the superseding indictment, James O'Toole, Paul McGonagle, Edward Connors, Thomas King, and Francis "Buddy" Leonard were murdered while the Bulger Group consolidated power and eliminated rivals in the South Boston area during the 1970s. The murder of James Sousa is charged as stemming from Sousa's involvement in a botched robbery with other Bulger Group members. BULGER and FLEMMI are charged with murdering Arthur "Bucky" Barrett after targeting him as an extortion victim and kidnaping him.
     The superseding indictment further describes how BULGER, FLEMMI and their underlings disposed of the remains of a number of the murder victims in order to prevent discovery of the killings. The body of Thomas King was buried in the vicinity of the Neponset River in Quincy. The remains of Paul McGonagle were buried in the area of Tenean Beach in Dorchester. The bodies of Arthur "Bucky" Barrett, John McIntyre, and Deborah Hussey were buried in a common grave in the vicinity of 55 Hallett Street in Dorchester, after being removed from makeshift graves in the basement of a private home in South Boston that was being offered for sale. Investigators have recovered the remains of five victims as part of law enforcement efforts relating to this case since January of this year. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has identified the remains of three of these individuals as those of Arthur Barrett, John McIntyre, and Deborah Hussey. Efforts to identify the other remains are pending.
     Also included in the superseding indictment are extensive charges relating to the involvement of BULGER, FLEMMI and their accomplices in cocaine and marijuana trafficking, extortion of drug dealers, bookmakers, loansharks, and persons engaged in business activities, extortionate debt collection, obstruction of justice, and laundering of criminal proceeds in relation to real estate and corporate deals. The money laundering charges relate to, among other properties, two long-standing organization haunts: the South Boston Liquor Mart, located at 295 Old Colony Avenue in South Boston, and the Rotary Variety Store, located at 309-325 Old Colony Avenue.
     FLEMMI also is charged with possession of illegal silencers.

Chicago: Al Capone Wisconsin retreat, complete with guard tower, 18-inch-thick stone walls and jail cells is up for sale.
     Sealed bids from as far away as Germany have arrived for the 400-acre lakeside estate in northwest Couderay, Wisconsin, which Capone had built in the 1920s to escape Chicago's summers and its bothersome legal authorities.
     The estate, being sold in four parcels, has been turned into a tourist draw with a restaurant inside the former garage and a gift shop.
     The home was outfitted with thick fieldstone walls to withstand bullets, a two-story living room and cells that were believed to be a repository for Capone's enemies.
     The property -- which could fetch $1 million -- was vacant for years after the famous bootlegger was sent to Alcatraz prison off San Francisco for income tax evasion in 1931. A Chicago restaurateur bought it in 1959.

Canada: - Quebec Public Security Minister Serge Menard confirmed that the purported heads of the biker gangs -- the Hells Angels' Maurice "Mom" Boucher and Rock Machine's Fred Faucher -- met this week in a room at Quebec City's court house.
     The media speculates that the leaders of the two gangs and their lieutenants were working out a truce in their bloody battle for control of the French-speaking Canadian province's lucrative drug trade which has left 158 dead so far.
     But Menard failed to explain to reporters how the alleged heads of Quebec's two biggest criminal gangs were allowed to host a private meeting in the court house.
     Menard repeated his call for a tougher federal anti-gang law to make it illegal to belong to a criminal biker gang. He deplored the fact that the gangs have become increasingly brash in their attacks, intimidation and recruiting tactics. Civil libertarians are opposed to such a law, saying it would contravene the constitutional right to freedom of association in Canada. Local politicians were galvanized into calling for tougher laws when, earlier this month, veteran crime reporter Michel Auger was shot five times in the back in what police said had the appearance of a botched biker gang hit. Auger, 56, a reporter for the Journal de Montreal newspaper who was seen as local journalism's authority on organized crime in the province of 7.4 million, is expected to recover fully from his wounds.
     In a statement on Wednesday from Ottawa, Canadian Solicitor General Lawrence MacAulay said the federal government was looking at its options on legislation allowing police to "effectively subvert criminal organizations."

New York: Thailand need to enact laws and provide social services to help a large number of Thai women taken to Japan every year to work in the sex-industry jobs entailing ''slavery-like abuses,'' according to a report to be released Thursday the New York-based Human Rights Watch.
     The report said many of the Thai women interviewed for the study cited instances of beatings, constant surveillance and coercive threats, including those of being ''resold,'' that put them in a category of forced labor.
     The study said thousands of Thai women are taken to Japan every year to work in the sex industry.
     Kinsey Dinan, one of the report's authors, said an estimated 20,000 Thai women are staying illegally in Japan, most of whom have fallen into debt bondage upon arrival in the country.
     The study noted that while most of the women decided to migrate for work, in doing so, they fell prey to deceptive contracting agents who charged them exorbitant fees for transport, apartment rental and other services, including simple amenities such as the right to use the telephone.
     The result, according to the study, is that these women became bound by their debts which typically range between $25,000-$40,000 and which could take them years to pay off, given the exploitative way in which they are paid.
     Most of the women are employed in Japan's booming ''sex entertainment industry'' worth 4 trillion to 10 trillion yen a year, the study said.
     The Thai women, part of a pool of an estimated 150,000 foreign sex workers in Japan, are expected to perform sexual services for clients picked up at ''dating'' bars, bathhouses and low-end brothels, often run by the yakuza -- members of Japan's crime syndicates, the report said.

Mr. Tuohy can be reached at

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