Excerpt from Black Mass by Dick Lehr, Gerard O'Neill, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Black Mass

The Irish Mob, The FBI, and A Devil's Deal

by Dick Lehr, Gerard O'Neill

Black Mass
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2000, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2001, 424 pages

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Several times that spring, Long, along with his commander, met with Jeremiah T. O'Sullivan, still the top federal prosecutor at the New England Organized Crime Strike Force. Long briefed O'Sullivan on what he and his troopers were witnessing at the Lancaster Street Garage. They came up with a plan where the feds would provide funding for the State Police's bugging operation. They brought in a local prosecutor, Tim Burke, an assistant district attorney in Suffolk County, to prepare the court papers to win a judge's approval. Despite the federal funding, it would be a stand-alone state police effort. No other agency. It wasn't as if the troopers could not work with the FBI. After all, Long had served as state police commander in Operation Lobster, the joint FBI and state police investigation that had involved Nick Gianturco. But there were the new rumors, especially after the race-fixing indictments when Bulger had eluded prosecution. The rest of law enforcement had begun wondering about Bulger and the FBI. But O'Sullivan, despite what he knew, told Long nothing. It was their case.

On July 23, 1980, Superior Court Judge Robert A. Barton approved Burke's application for a warrant to bug the Lancaster Street Garage. Pumped up, Long, Fraelick and O'Malley went to work. None of them had had much experience when it came to electronic surveillance, but they'd make up in energy what they clearly lacked in expertise. They'd actually made a trip to Radio Shack to buy the microphones they were going to use. Then, to, case the garage's interior and get a sense of the lay-out of the office, O'Malley posed as a tourist needing to relieve himself. He wandered into the garage one day, looking lost and looking all around. Bulger confronted him, saying there was no bathroom, and sharply ordered O'Malley out.

It was all trial and error.

The troopers came to call their first attempt "The Trojan Horse." They obtained a fancy-looking, souped-up van, pulled up the floorboards and created crawl space for O'Malley. The floorboards were then put back and covered with a shag run. Then the van was filled with furniture. Along with a state police secretary at his side, Fraelick drove up to the garage late one mid-summer afternoon. He told George Kaufman how he and his new wife were new to Boston. They were having some car trouble, he told Kaufman, and he was worried about leaving the van with all their belongings overnight on the streets of Boston. What if he pulled the van inside the garage and then first thing in the morning a mechanic could take a look at it?

Kaufman gave his okay and waved the van in. The newlyweds thanked Kaufman, promised to return in the morning, and walked off. Kaufman eventually closed up and left too. The plan was for O'Malley to emerge from the van during the night and let a crew in to install the microphones. But none of the troopers had counted on one of the winos from the flophouse across to street setting up right by the garage. O'Malley, bathed in sweat and grime, had no idea what was going on. He was not in radio contact with the others. But he could hear the wino making noise outside. The troopers improvised. Long had one of his crew go out and buy a case of beer. The trooper plopped down next to wino and began feeding him beers. Once the man passed out, the troopers could move in. But waiting ate up precious time, and just when the man was going down Kaufman unexpectedly re-appeared. Kaufman started yelling at the two men drinking at his garage, and he chased them off. By this time it was late, too late to pull off a bug installation. Eventually O'Malley emerged from his suffocating hiding spot, only to learn Long had called off the effort.

Their next try met with more success.

Early one evening, the troopers parked a U-Haul truck snugly next to the garage. The truck not only carried a crew, but also created a wall so that no one from the flophouse could look down onto the garage. Most nights, the winos and whackos were yelling and hanging out by the open windows in the sweltering heat. The truck took care of the flophouse follies. Then after Kaufman left, two troopers dropped down by the side of the truck and kicked out a bottom panel of the garage door. The troopers crawled in and with the help of a technician they had hired for the job they were able to install three microphones -- one in a couch, one inside a radio, and one in the ceiling of the office. They left, replacing the panel on the garage door.

Copyright 2000, Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

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