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July 10, 2013

Bulger trial: Testimony tied to Gloucester

Gloucester and a local fishing vessel were featured in Tuesday’s testimony at the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger, accused in a 32-count racketeering indictment of a long list of crimes, including participating in 19 killings.

Bulger, 83, and his once-loyal criminal apprentice Kevin Weeks, 57, had an angry, profanity-laced exchange in court after the former aide called Bulger and his partner “the two biggest rats.”

Weeks was referring to the prosecution’s claim that Bulger and his longtime cohort, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, were FBI informants on the rival New England Mafia while they were both committing a litany of crimes.

It was somewhat ironic as at least one of the three murders Weeks outlined in brutal detail Tuesday was that of John McIntryre, a mechanic aboard the Gloucester-based fishing vessel Valhalla, which was used by cohorts of Bulger’s to ship weapons to the Irish Republican Army off Ireland’s coast.

Weeks described in court Tuesday how he and Bulger came to Gloucester in September 1984 to watch the 7 1/2 tons of weapons — automatic rifles, submachine guns and hand grenades worth $1 million — get loaded on the Valhalla. Weeks said he met McIntyre that day.

The weapons were transferred to another boat in international water, but were then seized by Irish authorities. Weeks said the Valhalla eluded the authorities and returned to Boston in a storm. McIntyre and the Valhalla’s captain, the late Robert Anderson, of Gloucester, were questioned at the dock but let go.

Anderson and McIntyre were involved in smuggling 36 tons of marijuana in another ship, the Ramsland, on the return trip, Weeks said. The drugs were seized when the boat reached Boston.

Weeks said Bulger learned from FBI agent John Connolly that two people on Valhalla could have spoken with authorities about the gun-running scheme and the marijuana.

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