WINTER HILL GANG LEADER PLEADS GUILTY
Boston, MA .Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New England; Colonel Thomas J. Foley, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Joseph A. Galasso, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; Paul Evans, Commissioner of the Boston Police Department; and United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan announced that Stephen J. FLEMMI, age 69, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns to all counts in a superseding indictment charging him for his role in numerous murders as part of his leadership along with James Bulger from the early 1970s through the mid 1990s of an organized crime group that controlled extortion, drug dealing, and other rackets in South Boston and elsewhere throughout the metropolitan Boston area.
According to a plea agreement filed with the Court, the Government will recommend the maximum federal penalty possible for FLEMMI's plea to all federal charges against him-- life imprisonment. Additionally, FLEMMI will plead guilty to state first-degree murder charges in Florida and Oklahoma for the murders of John Callahan and Roger Wheeler. Judge Stearns scheduled sentencing for January 27, 2004 at 2:30 p.m.
The superseding indictment, to which FLEMMI pleaded guilty today, 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 were 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 Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa on May 27, 1981 as Bulger Group members tried to gain control of World Jai Alai, one of Wheeler's companies. FLEMMI pleaded guilty to murdering, along with Bulger, two young women, Debra Davis and Deborah Hussey, during the 1980s after determining that each posed a threat to FLEMMI and to the criminal organization.
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 stemmed from Sousa's involvement in a botched robbery with other Bulger Group members. Bulger and FLEMMI murdered Arthur "Bucky" Barrett after targeting him as an extortion victim and kidnapping 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 bodies of Thomas King and Deborah Davis were 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 basement of a private home in South Boston that was being offered for sale. Investigators recovered the remains of all six victims in 2000 and they were identified by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
FLEMMI admitted to the 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 longstanding 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 pleaded guilty to one count of perjury in relation to his August 1998 pretrial hearing testimony in a related case, and with an obstruction-of-justice count and an evidence-tampering count in relation to a January 2000 effort to prevent the seizure of firearms, as well as with additional counts relating to the following firearms offenses: possession of assault weapons in furtherance of violent crimes; possession of machine guns and firearms equipped with silencers, and sawed-off shotguns; transfer and possession of machine guns; and possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number.
"The guilty plea of Bulger group member Flemmi today is a victory. We hope that the families of Flemmi's victims find some solace in the plea of this predator," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Trouville. "This plea is the direct result of determined investigators and prosecutors who have tirelessly pursued this organization. Today we took a step in the right direction but it is by no means the end of our journey for justice."
Today's guilty plea is the result of the cooperative efforts of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Massachusetts State Police, the Internal Revenue Service, the Boston Police Department, the United States Attorney's Office, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Justice Task Force, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office, the Tulsa Police Department, the Office of the State Attorney for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, the Miami-Dade Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Customs Service, and the Quincy Police Department.
Anthony J. Pettigrew, (617) 557-2138