If you look at the FBI's most wanted list, James "Whitey" Bulger is just below Osama bin Laden. He is charged with committing 20 murders, and suspected in at least 20 more. But despite an international manhunt, the leader of Boston's Irish mob has been a fugitive for more than 10 years.
If anyone has a clue where he is, it's Kevin Weeks. For 20 years, he was Bulger's right-hand man, and the last person known to have seen him in the United States.
But six years ago, Weeks turned on his boss, becoming one of the most important witnesses ever against organized crime.
Weeks, who has written his story in a book called "Brutal," talks to correspondent Ed Bradley; it's a story about murder, mayhem and treachery and it's told by the keeper of Whitey Bulger's darkest secrets.
Kevin Weeks is a soft-spoken, 49-year-old native of South Boston. But don't be fooled by the low-key, matter-of-fact way he answers questions about his life of crime.
Weeks readily admits he has committed a laundry list of crimes, including beating people up, shooting and stabbing people, helping kidnap people and being an accessory to murder. It's quite a resume.
"It's the business we were in," Weeks tells Bradley.
The business they were in was organized crime. And what set Whitey Bulger's organization apart was its penchant for violence. Weeks says it was all part of the folklore of this Irish, working-class neighborhood known as "Southie."
Growing up in Southie, Kevin says one had to fight. "You didn't have to win, but you had to fight," he says.
On these streets, Whitey Bulger was a known as a vicious gangster who never hesitated to use violence. Weeks, who had a reputation as a tenacious street fighter, caught the crime boss's eye while he was working as a bouncer at a local bar. Over the years, he became Bulger's most trusted confidante.
Asked what his job was working for Bulger, Weeks says, "Anything he asked me to do."
Including murder. For 20 years, Weeks was with the crime boss nearly every day. But they were exceedingly careful. There are only two known photographs of them together. One photo was taken at a park called Castle Island, where they talked business out of earshot of police bugs. Weeks says the man he called "Jimmy" was a criminal mastermind.
"Ninety-eight percent of his waking hours was dedicated to crime, two percent to pleasure. He was very disciplined. Had no bad habits. He didn't drink. He didn't gamble. Didn't do drugs," says Weeks.
No bad habits, if you don't count murder. And killing was something Weeks says Whitey thoroughly enjoyed.
Asked how Bulger killed people, Weeks says: "He stabbed people. He beat people with bats. He shot people. Strangled people. Run 'em over with cars.
"After he would kill somebody, it was like a stress relief. You know? He'd be nice and calm for a couple of weeks afterwards. Like he just got rid of all his stress."
Weeks told 60 Minutes he helped Bulger commit three murders in one house. He lured the victims there, stood guard over them while they were interrogated, and after they were killed, he buried them in the basement. One of the victims was a gun-runner named John McIntyre, who was cooperating with police.
"John McIntyre was originally strangled. But the rope was too thick. So he was gagging. So Jimmy shot him in the head. And then pulled his teeth. And we buried him," Weeks recalls.
Weeks says the teeth were pulled because at the time there were dental records but no DNA. It was an attempt to keep victims from being identified.
Asked if he has any regrets about the loss of life he is responsible for, Weeks says no.
If he has any regrets, it is about one person he didn't kill. Howie Carr is a columnist for the Boston Herald, as well as a radio talk show host, who has been a thorn in the side of Whitey Bulger and his gang for 20 years.
"Whitey Bulger is a serial killer, cocaine dealer, bank robber, pedophile, very smart criminal," says Carr.
"Did you consider him a worthy adversary? I mean, is that why you went after him so hard?" Bradley asked.
"I went after Whitey just because I couldn't believe he was getting away with what he was doing, and that nobody would write about it," Carr explains.
So perhaps it's no surprise that Bulger and Weeks hatched a plan to take Howie Carr out of the newspaper and off the airwaves for good.
"We found out he lived down in Acton, Massachusetts. We drove down to his house. And we took pictures. We scoped it out. We looked for an escape route. We, at one point, we were gonna fill a basketball with C4 (plastic explosive)," Weeks tells Bradley. "And when he come out of the house, we were gonna blow it up and kill him. But we decided that it would probably take the house down, too, and kill some innocent people, his family. So we nixed that plan."
Plan B, he says, was much more direct: Weeks was just going to shoot him.
"I was down at his house one morning, about 5:30 in the morning, across the street in the cemetery with a rifle, waiting for him to come out. And he come out about between 7:15, 7:30. And he had his daughter with him. I assume it was his daughter. Young girl. He was holding her by the hand, going to his car. So, I had to pass on it," Weeks says.
Asked why he had to pass, Weeks says, "I didn't wanna kill him in front of his daughter."
Had he come out the door by himself, Weeks says, Carr would be a dead man.
Carr's reaction to the claim?
"I don't know. I don't know if I believe him or not," says Carr.
"He says he was in the graveyard. Is there a graveyard across the street from your house?" Bradley asks.
"Yeah. There is," Carr replies. "It just doesn't seem like Kevin would have the stones to do it. Now I could see, if he said Whitey was there, well, you wouldn't be interviewing me, cause I'd be dead. But I'm just not sure Weeks is capable of that."
Told that Carr doesn't believe his story and thought he didn't have the stones to kill him, Weeks says: "Really? Well, I don't think Howie Carr has the stones to confront any man and say what he prints to their face."
"What would you say to Howie Carr if he were here?" Bradley asks Weeks.
"I wouldn't say anything to Howie Carr. He could tell me what he thinks of me. And I'll show him what I think of him," Weeks says.
How would he do that?
"I think I'd be creative. I could figure something out," Weeks says.
Asked what he means by creative, Weeks says, "Whatever comes to mind at the time."
"I would assume after the time you spent in jail, you're not gonna kill him?" Bradley asks.
"No. But you know, it's a loaded question," Weeks says.
"You could say yes or no," Bradley says.
"Well, I don't like him," Weeks responds.
For 20 years, Weeks and Bulger were practically untouchable. One reason, he says, was that they had six FBI agents and dozens of Boston cops on the payroll.
"Every time we made a score, say there was four of us involved in a score, it would be cut up five ways. And that fifth piece would go to law enforcement, to the connections," says Weeks. "And we were always getting information back about investigations that were going on, things that people were doing, saying about us, grand juries, things like that."
Bulger even used tips from an FBI agent named John Connolly to identify and kill informants within his own organization. Connolly is charged with murder in connection with his ties to Bulger's gang.
With help like that, they amassed tens of millions of dollars from gambling, drugs, robberies and extortions. Once, Bulger and Weeks even hit the Massachusetts state lottery winning $14 million, although many suspect they simply coerced the winning ticket-holder into having them as partners. Then, in a flash, their luck ran out.
It was two days before Christmas of 1994, when a tip from a crooked FBI agent marked the beginning of the end for South Boston's Irish mob. That was the day when Whitey Bulger found out he was about to be arrested and charged with extortion and racketeering. Weeks says Bulger knew he had been under investigation. But no one knew how much planning he had done to be ready for this day. Since the early 1980s, he had been creating new identities and stashing millions of dollars in safe deposit boxes around the world.
"He was probably worth $30 to $50 million," Weeks says.
Bulger, Weeks says, could live comfortably for a long time.
Weeks was one of the few people Bulger trusted enough to stay in touch. He says he was able to meet face-to-face with the most wanted man in America five times over the next two years in Boston, Chicago and New York, delivering forged identifications and keeping him apprised of developments back home. He says the meetings were always arranged by phone.
"We had code words for different places. When he wanted me to go to
New York he'd tell me, 'Meet me at the lions,' " Weeks recalls.
The lions referred to the two big lion statues in front of New York's public library.
Bulger told him big cities allowed him to hide in plain sight. One time, Whitey asked directions from a New York City cop.
"He walked up to him, and he was looking for a street, a restaurant, and he asked the cop for directions. And I couldn't believe it. I'm just looking at him," Weeks recalls, laughing. "This guy's wanted. But, he just gave him directions and stuff. He thanked him. We walked away."
Weeks says the last time he saw Bulger was in New York in 1996, almost two years after he vanished. He says Whitey told him he'd be in touch, but he never called again.
A few months later, there was this bombshell: reports that Whitey Bulger had been a top-level FBI informant since 1975. Bulger, who had killed anyone he thought was an informant, had all along been giving the feds information about rival criminals, as well as some members of his own gang. Weeks, who was still a player in the Boston underworld, was shattered.
"He betrayed me. He betrayed me the whole time. He betrayed all of us," Weeks says.
Asked how he was betrayed, Weeks says: "Well, we knew we were paying for information, that we had sources in law enforcement. So as far as we were concerned, the relationship was one-way. We were receiving information. We were paying for the information. Now we find out he's giving information.
"He was giving up some of his own people. He was giving up the competition. He was, I mean, he basically he made a deal with the FBI, and they gave him carte blanche to do what he wanted."
Weeks' turn to make a deal came in 1999, when he was arrested and charged with 29 crimes. Facing life in prison and abandoned by his boss, he decided to cooperate.
"We made a deal to sit down and talk. They wanted proof that I was telling the truth. So I led them to three bodies," Weeks recalls.
For years, Whitey Bulger's victims had simply disappeared and police could never make a murder charge against him stick. Weeks knew where the bodies were buried, and eventually led them to six of them. When it was all over, prosecutors were able to charge Bulger with 20 additional counts of murder. In return for his cooperation, Weeks spent just 72 months in prison. He was released last year.
"A lot of people, particularly the families of the victims, have been outraged. I mean they look at it, 'We lost a loved one and this guys walking out on the street,' " Bradley says.
"They're entitled to their feelings," Weeks replies. "I mean, if someone killed a loved one of mine, I'd want to kill them. I wouldn't want them in jail. I'd want to kill them. So they're entitled to, you know, and they're probably correct."
Weeks says he isn't worried about his safety. He's refused the witness protection program, and is already back in Southie, where he says people now know the reality behind the myth of Whitey Bulger.
"We were supposed to live by a certain code," says Weeks. "And this was his teaching, too. You know, you never rat on your friends. You never rat on your family. You never give your own up. You have a problem, you take it to the street."
Asked if he has any idea where Bulger might be today, Weeks says no.
"I mean I believe he's probably over in Europe somewhere," he says. "I believe he went over to Europe, and I think he got trapped over there after 9/11."
The federal task force assigned to capture Whitey Bulger says the last confirmed sighting of him was in London in 2002.
Last week, the task force released
By Graham Messick/Michael Karzis
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