herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

FBI manhunt focused on Irish links

'WHITEY' Bulger's strong Irish links formed a major line of inquiry for the FBI during his years on the run.

Many believe he spent time in Ireland and FBI agents regularly travelled here to check out tips.

His Winter Hill Gang are alleged to have sent the IRA weapons in the 1980s, including the gun running ship the Marita Ann.

The Naval Service seized the ship, which was carrying seven tons of weapons, as it headed for Fenit.

Another ship, the Valhalla, brought the consignment across the Atlantic to rendezvous with the Marita Ann off the Kerry coastline.

A couple of weeks after the shipment in 1984, John McIntyre, a small time South Boston criminal, was arrested for domestic violence.

But he told startled Boston cops that he had "insider" information on the IRA gun running plot.

He told them that the consignment of arms had been organised and paid for by local drug lords Joseph Murray, James 'Whitey' Bulger and Stephen Flemmi.

He believed that Bulger then told his FBI handlers about the consignment to put Murray out of business, so he could take over his drugs operation.

McIntyre revealed that he was one of the crew on the Valhalla and that he and gang boss Joe Murray had previously visited Kerry.

After McIntyre told his story to the FBI and it is believed the information was passed on to Bulger. McIntyre was murdered and his body wasn't found for 16 years.

In January, 2000, Kevin Weeks, who planned the Marita Ann shipment, pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in exchange for leniency.

As part of the deal he led police to a mob grave in Dorchester in Boston where they exhumed the bodies of John McIntyre, three other men and two women.

Patrick Nee and Joseph Murray were convicted of involvement in the Valhalla/Marita Ann arms shipment, but Bulger was never charged for his alleged role.

Two safety deposit boxes in London and in a bank in Grafton St, Dublin, were raided by the authorities in 2002.

They had been used by Bulger and contained cash, an Irish passport and a brochure called "The World's Top Retirement Havens."

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