I thought most of the Charlestown morons were wiped out when the McLaughlins got caught up in the losing end of the fight with the Somerville crowd in the 1960s. Joey from Charlestown shows there are some still around. Joseph Burke (Joey) age 51 has a record going back to at least 1988. Then he was twenty four-years-old and was sent to prison for five years for multiple robberies. How times have changed, Whitey in the Fifties got 20 years for the same type crimes. Joey was then convicted of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute in 1993. He got ten years in prison and is still on federal probation.
Joey’s just been arrested. He was “hired” by an undercover FBI agent to kill another guy who just happened to be an undercover FBI agent. The thing that I cannot figure is how did the FBI agent and Joey get together in the first place? Was Joey handing out cards saying he’d murder someone for a price? My curiosity compelled me to look at the criminal complaint against him signed by FBI agent Benjamin A. Alves who has been with the FBI six years and with the Harrisonburg, Virginia police for seven years prior to that.
I am curious how Joey got himself involved. Unfortunately, we are not told how Joey and the undercover agent, UC-1, met. At their first meeting set out in the affidavit Joey says he might have to pull an armored car hold up to get some money. Joey is feeling the pinch.
Joey also asks UC-1 if he knows any wealthy individuals Joey can rob. Joey then tells him if he knows anyone who might like get out of a marriage he can take care of that. He indicates how by a gesture showing him firing a gun. I guess Joey never heard of divorce actions.
Over three months later UC-1 brings along another FBI agent, Target, to meet Joey. The meeting didn’t go well since Joey said some nasty things about Target after the meeting.
Another couple of months pass and UC-1 tells Joey that Target is making trouble for him with the IRS. UC-1 tells Joe he’ll show him Target’s s office in New York City. Joey is undecided how he will murder him but brags “Three in the derby and three in the chest” and says some other things only a moron would say. He tells UC-1 to borrow money from Target saying: “That’s how wise guys do it When the wise guys get clipped . . . you ain’t gonna pay it back. He’s gone.” Sounds like a bright lad.
On September 19 UC-1 reserves a hotel room for Joey in New York City. Joey had his girl with him. Apparently he owns no guns because he tells UC-1 he was going to buy a Glock and a submachine gun. He plan to use the Glock with a silencer to murder Target.
UC- 1 tells Joey that Target will have a hundred thousand on him at his office. UC-1 then gives Joey $2,000 as a down payment. Later Joey tells UC-1 he has to meet with a “wise guy” in New York. Agent Alves the affiant says that means a member of organized crime. I figure it’s just Joey throwing out a line so he can spend more time in New York with his girl.
Joey wants realistic masks that will make him look black and when the FBI gets them for him Joey expresses happiness. On October 6, 2015, Joey tells UC-1 that he plans to break into Target’s office at 12:15 am and wait for him. and then shoot him. Joey is told Target won’t be in New York over the 10th weekend but will be back on the 17th. Joey still wants UC-1 to get him a room and car so he can go to N.Y. on the 10th. Alves, the affiant, said Joey wanted to go there to do surveillance; I’d suggest Joey was looking to have another nice weekend with his girl at the FBI’s expense.
There’s no entrapment here because of Joey’s predisposition. But the whole plan seems to be that of the FBI. Dumb Joey with his big gruff and bluff talk while he was probably downing a few beers and balls has put himself back in the clinker trying to scam UC-1 out of a couple of trips to NY city.
Joe’s a dirtball and it’s good he’ll be locked up. But I wonder if he would have done anything other than talk big? Too bad the FBI didn’t play out the string a little more. Is the reason it didn’t because it knew it was the booze talking and not Joey?
[I wrote this prior to seeing Howie Carr had another take on Joey.]