I always thought it ironic that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was criticized for its Top Echelon Informant (TEI) program by the people who did exactly the same thing. I believe the criticism of the TEI gang is justified. It is really absurd think that the FBI would establish such a program whose purpose is to get those gangsters with highly placed positions in the criminal underground world to give information to the FBI against others similarly placed. The FBI would establish long-term relationships with these top gangsters who would feed it information against others like them. In exchange, remember we are dealing with gangsters who have a price for everything, the FBI would give them protection. We ended up with having some gangsters given a green light to operate while others became targets.
Then at some time down the road evidence would be developed against those in the TEI program that they were doing what the FBI knew they were doing and they would be indicted. The situation would then be reversed. The prosecutors who developed the information to bring the charges would then use top criminals to testify against the FBI’s TEIs and give them protection in the form of paying them for their testimony and letting them off with light sentences.
Remember this: the federal prosecutors did not have to make a deal with any of these criminals. They had brought RICO indictments against all those involved in the criminal activity. They were all facing twenty plus years in prison. The only justification they ever offered for doing deals was that they would not know about many of their murders unless they persons who did them were given a deal. The more they murdered the better their deals.
I never understood this. Imagine the police are stymied in their investigation of a murder of a young woman. The murderer sends his lawyer to them and says: “If you give my guy a deal he’ll tell you about the murder.” They then begin negotiating how much time the murderer would do. The lawyer says: “He’ll only do a year for the murder.” The police say, “OK, at least we’ll have solved the case.”That’s sort of what the federal prosecutors did; but it was worse since they already could jam them in for 20-years or more.
Which of these gangs have you heard the least about: the Winter Hill gang, the Irish gang, the Roxbury gang, the Boston Mafia gang? Have you ever heard of the Italian gang? No not the Mafia, but another Italian gang. Probably not because it doesn’t fit into the tale many want to tell about Boston’s gangs.
The Roxbury gang rightly should have been called the Italian gang if gangs were going to be named by ethnicity as we know they were. This Italian gang far and above surpassed any other gang in the history of Boston in murdering people. It got itself in the middle of the Boston Mob murders in the 1960s and it continues into the 1970s. When it disbursed into other gangs or into prison its members continued their murderous ways. In the end the members of this most murderous gang would become federal witnesses. They would get good deals for telling of their past depredations if they implicated an Irish guy in some of them.
They did this very easily since their murders were in the long ago past. They’d testify “I’m a real bad guy” but the Irish guy is worse. He made me kill the others or was standing by when I did it ready to assist. There never was any corroboration. All they had to do was include him in their evil hoping because they were so wicked that their wickedness would rub off onto him. It did. Jurors figured the Irish guy would not have associated with the guy testifying if he was not like him.
It was so bad that one of the Italian gang told another member of that gang that he accidentally strangled his girlfriend. He did that after being asked what happened to her. Both of these Italian gang members were witnesses for the federal prosecutors. Even knowing that the Italian gang member strangled his girlfriend (the motive was obvious since she was leaving him) the prosecutors charged the Irish guy with her murder.
I know it makes no sense but that’s really what happened.