Johnny "Red" Shea says he knows firsthand just how dangerous James "Whitey" Bulger was.
Shea says he used to run the drug operation for Bulger's Winter Hill Gang in Boston. He later served 12 years in prison on cocaine trafficking charges.
Shea wrote about his alleged experiences with Bulger in the memoir "Rat Bastards: The Life and Times of South Boston's Most Honorable Irish Mobster." Shea is also the author of a novel "A Kid from Southie."
Shea said on "The Early Show" Friday he was surprised to see the 81-year-old Bulger captured. "I thought the only way that he'd come back would be of natural death," Shea said.
Co-anchor Jeff Glor noted it seems as if Bulger inspired loyalty in many people who stood by him over the years. Glor asked how Bulger could inspire such confidence.
Shea said Bugler had "a unique character about him" and was "very manipulative."
Shea said Bulger played good cop/bad cop with his followers.
"So, you have one guy on one side being a good guy to you, then the other guy is the bad guy. So, now, you want to, most times, you want to lean to the good side," Shea said. "He was both ways himself. He acted in that manner. ... He'd build you up and then took you back down."
Bulger is charged with 19 murders, extortion, money laundering, among other charges. However, Shea says he's guilty of a lot more than he's officially facing.
"He had a reign long before I was even born," Shea said. "And you know, his reputation has, you know, it goes back a long way. And you know, he's done a lot of serious, serious things. With this 19 bodies that he has here is just, I'd say, icing on the cake."
Shea says in addition to all that, he ratted out his friends to law enforcement.
"The guy is an evil man," Shea said. "He's done tons and tons of evil, not only to innocent victims, but he also has never honored the code that he preached all those years to myself and to others involved, and he was a fraud in that sense. He lied, completely lied through his whole entire reign of being in the mob."
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