Feature Articles

December 4, 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

Boston: Fugitive Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger was accused of participating in 18 slayings in a 32 count federal indictment which marks the first time charges have linked him directly to murder.

     The indictment charges Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi with racketeering, extortion, money laundering and a variety of other crimes. Flemmi, who is in prison, allegedly participated in 10 murders.

     Both Bulger and Flemmi were allegedly protected from prosecution for years because they worked as FBI informants.

     Bulger, one of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted, has been on the lam since 1995 after he was allegedly tipped off by FBI agents to a pending indictment.

     The indictment was unsealed as investigators continued to dig in the Boston area for suspected victims of Bulger and his associates.

     Since the beginning of the year, authorities have dug up five bodies believed to be victims of Bulger's gang from as far back as the 1970s.

Albany: The New York state's attorney general is investigating the possibility that three New York thoroughbred racetracks were used in a money-laundering scheme linked to organized crime.

     State police and criminal investigators directed by the state Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force made surprise visits to Belmont and Aqueduct in New York City and at Saratoga Race Course 25 miles north of Albany.

     Low-level NYRA employees, including cashiers at the tracks, are suspected of knowingly exchanging "dirty" mob money for "clean" money. The mob money may have been marked bills involved in robberies or cash made in illegal transactions like drug deals.

Chicago: Chicago officials shut down the historic Biograph theater, where gangster John Dillinger was gunned down, for failure to pay taxes.

     The Department of Revenue also on Wednesday closed six other theaters in the Meridian Entertainment Group.

     In 1934, federal agents gunned down Dillinger as he walked out of the Biograph with the infamous "Lady in Red", who had tipped off authorities. Dillinger had been watching the film "Manhattan Melodrama."

New York: Waste Management Inc., the largest trash-disposal company in America, will drop 10 percent of its New York City commercial customers, the New York Times said, because hauling trash in parts of the city isn't profitable.

     National firms were urged by Mayor Rudolph W. Guiliani four years ago to compete in New York City as part of his campaign to combat organized crime. Prices rose about 12 percent to $7.16 per cubic yard in the last year and a half, short of the $12.20 limit set by the city but below the average price of $15 before the city created the Trade Waste Commission in 1996.

     About 150 firms are licensed to collect commercial waste and 50 more can operate while the city investigates whether they have ties to organized crime.

Boston: The top manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's $2 billion employee pension fund has been accused of benefiting from private business with a convicted racketeer who received $7 million in construction loans from the retirement fund.

     According t reports. John J. Gallahue Jr., executive director of the MBTA Retirement Board, was the motivator behind the board's decision to lend money to corporations controlled by Francis K. Fraine, an admitted arsonist with ties to organized crime. The loans were approved by the board between July 1998 and April 2000.

     Gallahue's efforts apparently helped his girlfriend to recover a $100,000 down payment from Fraine on a failed real-estate transaction. They also may have resulted in Fraine's picking up Gallahue's hotel bill while he was in Florida for the 1999 Super Bowl, the Boston Herald reported, adding that the money used to pay the bill came from a corporate bank account that held money from the MBTA pension fund.

Ottawa: Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien is set to CO-host two multi-government meetings in Guatemala and Jamaica. The Guatemala City meeting would focus on trade, investment, AIDS, organized crime and UN reform.

Washington: President Clinton said the United States and the Netherlands must step up their fight against smuggling of the illegal drug ecstasy from Dutch suppliers to US users.

     The Netherlands is the source of an estimated 80 percent of the ecstasy, or MDMA. The hallucinogenic, stimulant drug is consumed in the United States by a growing legion of fans who use it as a fuel for dance parties.

     Clinton said ecstasy smugglers have been able to exploit Dutch trading facilities.

     The drug is produced in clandestine labs using chemicals brought to the Netherlands from around Europe. The US Drug Enforcement Administration has said Israeli organized crime syndicates are major traffickers in the drug.

Cyprus: National police have seized more than 77 pounds of cocaine, the biggest single haul of the drug on Cyprus ever.

     The drug -- with a street value of $5.85 million according to local media reports -- was found Tuesday in an olive container at a bonded warehouse in Ypsonas, on the outskirts of Limassol, the main port town on the island.

Kuwait: A Kuwaiti court has sentenced to death a Kuwaiti national and three Pakistanis for drug smuggling.

     The Pakistani men were found guilty of smuggling drugs into the Gulf Arab State "by hiding the contraband in sensitive parts of their bodies." The Kuwaiti man was found guilty of smuggling 6.6 pounds of hashish. Kuwait has executed some 35 people since introducing the death penalty in 1964.

Mr. Tuohy can be reached at

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