By Jim Smith
BOSTON — Federal authorities confirmed last Friday that one of three bodies discovered in a Dorchester gravesite last month is John McIntyre, an IRA sympathizer who vanished in the fall of 1984 after talking with local police and federal agents about an IRA gun-running operation and other illegal activities of Irish-American mobster James "Whitey" Bulger.
McIntyre, whose body was identified through dental records, was a crewman aboard the fishing boat Valhalla, which transferred seven tons of ammunition and weapons to the Irish fishing vessel Marita Ann off the coast of County Kerry in September 1984. The shipment was seized at sea by Irish police, who learned of the operation through an informant.
Kevin Weeks, a former top lieutenant of Bulger, led authorities to McIntyre’s body on Jan. 14 in an apparent bid to gain leniency. He was indicted last November on racketeering charges.
Weeks is reportedly cooperating with law-enforcement officials and is offering up information about Bulger, the 70-year-old South Boston crime boss who is now on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.
Although the FBI is pursuing Bulger, McIntyre’s family blames the agency for their son’s death. In a ruling last September, federal judge Mark Wolf, while presiding over a racketeering case, said it was likely that former FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. had told Bulger that McIntyre was cooperating with investigators about the Valhalla, resulting in McIntyre’s murder.
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Connolly was indicted in December on charges of racketeering and obstruction of justice relating to his handling of Bulger, whom he had recruited as an informer to help bring down the New England Mafia in the 1970s and ’80s. Authorities believe Connolly continually protected Bulger from prosecution and tipped him off about investigations and an indictment in 1995 that would have led to Bulger’s arrest.
Connolly has publicly denied any wrongdoing and claims that he had not even heard of John McIntyre until the news broke in late 1984 about his disappearance.
However, McIntyre’s younger brother Christopher told a Channel 5 TV audience last Friday that he holds Connolly responsible for his brother’s murder. "He painted the bull’s eye on my brother’s back," he said. "He pointed the gun, and somebody else pulled the trigger."
McIntyre’s family is planning to file a suit against the U.S. government, charging the FBI with complicity in John McIntyre’s death.
Bulger, whose brother William is president of the University of Massachusetts and former president of the Massachusetts Senate, has repeatedly been featured on the TV program "America’s Most Wanted." He is believed to be traveling with his 48-year-old girlfriend, Catherine Grieg.
An FBI task force has tracked him to New York City, Chicago, Florida, Louisiana, Italy, Ireland and Canada, but there have been no confirmed Bulger sightings since 1998.