The Mafia in Boston was hurt in particular by three men from the federal government between 1960 and 1990. In 1960 the Mafia was a very powerful group in Boston; by the end of the 1980s it was a group of stumblebums unable to keep out of prison.
When the 1960s came we had the Boston gang murders (wrongly called the Irish gang wars) where between 60 and 80 gangsters were murdered. During this time the Boston Mafia, under the control of Gerry Angiulo, kept to the sidelines content to have others take down a few people for it but for the most part let other gangsters eliminate themselves. Part of the group doing the killing were the Roxbury Group of Italians which would kill off its Irish members and keep in contact with Angiulo’s group. Angiulo was an under-boss. The big boss, the king, as the Mafia would refer to him, was Raymond L.S. Patriarca who operated out of an office in Federal Hill, Providence, R.I. Raymond’s right hand man was Henry Tameleo. Angiulo’s enforcer was Larry Baione and outside of his brothers he used Peter Limone as his right hand man.
In the mid-1960s we had the case of the Teddy Deegan murder. That is the case in which Joe “the Animal” Barboza testified. Joe had become a cooperating witness for the FBI having been turned by FBI Agent Paul Rico. Through Joe’s testimony Raymond L.S. Patriarca was put in prison; Gerry Angiulo indicted but was acquitted; and in the Deegan case Tameleo and Limone and four others incarcerated. One of those men was clearly innocent; as for Tameleo and Limone it is suggested they were not at the scene of the murder and were innocent; but Barboza never put them there. He said they gave the OK for him to murder Deegan which makes them accessories before the fact. Intercepted FBI tapes seem to confirm that.
Wherever the truth lies, and it certainly is not with the media’s, Congress’s, or the courts interpretation, Paul Rico did much to take down the Mafia. He was number one they wanted to get back at.
The next person was FBI agent John Connolly who had several top level informants including Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi. He would be instrumental in assisting with the take down of the Angiulos and Baione, although not playing a critical role there. He would play a critical role in taking down the Mafia group that rose to power after the Angiulos and also the group the rose to power after them. He was the number two person the Mafia wanted to get revenge upon.
Then there was Jeremiah O’Sullivan. He was the prosecutor who was instrumental in putting together the wiretap that would be done on Angiulo’s headquarters and on Baione’s hangout. He would then go on and prosecute those men and their associates and put them into prison and out of power. He was the number three man.
Black Mass was a hit piece on these three men. It suggested Jeremiah O’Sullivan should have recused himself from Billy Bulger’s investigating (without noting that was what he had done when he gave it to two assistants); that he alerted the FBI to state police surveillance at Lancaster Street (which the FBI denied); he helped keep Whitey as an informant according to FBI agent Sarhatt (which O’Sullivan denied); and he banished Halloran from the witness protection program (which he never had a chance of getting into because Suffolk DA Mundy kept him out).They ended after all these accusations saying: “the cocksure prosecutor proclaimed the Bill Bulger case dead on arrival” when the truth was he designated his assistants to give it a full investigation. Nor do the authors mention that the source of much of their book were two FBI agents: Fitzpatrick hated O’Sullivan and Morris had done the investigation of Billy Bulger and kept them informed of it and it was he who said the investigation was at a dead end.
As for Connolly and Rico Black Mass condemns them over and over again for doing what they were supposed to do which to protect their informants. Black Mass tells about how in protecting them they were not following the guidelines set down by the FBI. As I explained previously those guidelines were on the books just to hide behind; they were not practiced anywhere by FBI agents handling top level informants. They could not be followed.
The Black Mass authors seem to acknowledge this when they wrote about the rules and guidelines that these, “safety checks were an acknowledgement of the danger and temptations inherent in having agents team up with criminals.” That they were; but they were not put in to deter the agent but to cover the Bureau. The agents job was to get results. Black Mass noted, “[T]he discretion to permit criminal activity rested with agents in the field, agents like John Connolly, Paul Rico . . . .There was little oversight from FBI headquarters in Washington and no requirement that the bureau consult with anyone outside the FBI . . . . “
We’ve seen that the agents got results by taking down the Mafia. We’ve seen the Mafia got revenge by taking down the agents: Connolly will die in prison; Rico died in jail waiting for his trial on a murder he probably had nothing to do with. Books like Black Mass led to the Mafia winning the war against those agents
As for Jeremiah O’Sullivan, who Black Mass said, “for sixteen years had fought the Boston Mafia”, he would be demeaned and have his reputation torn to shreds. On top of it all the Mafia, Tameleo’s family and Limone, would be given 25 million each by a federal judge. Limone would go back and become the head of the Mafia in Boston. Who said crime doesn’t pay?