By Jim Smith
BOSTON — In a startling turn of events, federal investigators probing mob activity have unearthed the body of suspected gun-runner John McIntyre, an IRA sympathizer who vanished in November 1984 following the ill-fated voyage of the Valhalla, the fishing trawler used in a failed attempt to transfer arms to the IRA off the coast of Ireland.
Acting on a tip from Kevin Weeks, a former top lieutenant of Irish-American mobster James "Whitey" Bulger, investigators discovered three bodies Friday at a gravesite in Dorchester, one of whom is thought to be McIntyre.
Investigators suspect that Bulger, who is one of the FBI’s 10 most wanted criminals and has been on the run for five years, and cohort Stephen Flemmi may have ordered McIntyre killed in 1984 because of reports that he was cooperating with police about the aborted transfer of arms from the Valhalla to the Irish trawler Marita Ann off the coast of Kerry.
Working from an informer’s tip-off, gardai captured four IRA men when they tried to unload the weapons from the American vessel.
Law enforcement sources say that Weeks, who has been in jail since November on racketeering charges, has been cooperating with authorities with an expectation that he will be granted leniency. He is reportedly telling investigators about Bulger’s and Flemmi’s alleged involvement in drug-dealing, money-laundering and other unsolved murders committed while they worked for the FBI as informants.
Follow us on social media
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo
Former local FBI agents are now under investigation for obstruction of justice relating to their handling of Bulger and his associates in what has become one of the biggest scandals in U.S. law enforcement history.
Relatives of McIntyre initially believed that he was assassinated by British military agents, which is the premise of a 1989 book by John Loftus, "Valhalla’s Wake."
Contacted at home Saturday, McIntyre’s mother, Emily, told the Echo that she and her family are taking a wait-and-see approach to the stunning new developments.
"It seems from what we’re hearing now that Bulger and his gang were behind this," she said. "Maybe now the truth about my son’s disappearance will finally come out."
Emily McIntyre believes that her son was probably killed because he told police about a marijuana-smuggling operation by Bulger and his associates that was used to finance the gun-running enterprise.
She and her family are now preparing a lawsuit against the federal government, charging that former FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. told Bulger that McIntyre was cooperating with authorities. Connolly, who was recently indicted on charges of protecting Bulger and Flemmi from prosecution, has told reporters that he had nothing to do with McIntyre’s disappearance.