(NECN: Alysha Palumbo - Boston) - With a slew of witnesses on the stand as the government begins to wrap up its case in the James “Whitey” Bulger murder trial, one man had jurors on the edge of their seats.
62-year-old self-employed business owner and admitted big-time drug dealer William David Lindholm told a tale of a 125-ton marijuana deal that pulled in $72 million dollars.
Sold off in just six weeks, the Spring 1983 pot operation allegedly caught the attention of Bulger and partner Stephen Flemmi…and they apparently wanted their piece of the pie.
Lindholm gave gripping testimony about being brought to a room in a function hall where Bulger, Flemmi and two other men demanded a $1 million dollar cut of the profits for simply letting Lindholm do business.
Lindholm testified, "I had $4 million dollars 20 minutes away in a condo," but said he had dealt with his share of Mexican and Colombian drug smugglers and wasn’t about to cave to Bulger.
He said, "I knew if he killed me he wasn't going to get any money."
Lindholm said Bulger then pulled out a gun, put a bullet in the chamber, spun it and fired at Lindholm’s head - a game of Russian Roulette Lindholm says got him talking, eventually bluffing Bulger down to a pay off of $250,000.
When asked by prosecutors what Bulger said would happen if he ever sold marijuana again without paying Bulger “rent” Lindholm said plainly, "He'd cut my head off."
Earlier in the day, retired Customs Agent Donald DeFago, who handled victim John McIntyre as an informant, testified about how McIntyre helped authorities bust boatloads of gun and drug shipments on the Valhalla and the Ramsland.
DeFago testified after the feds gave McIntyre $20,000 to invest in an operation that could have netted them more surveillance and possible arrests, McIntyre disappeared.
DeFago said, “When he didn’t call we got suspicious.”
McIntyre’s remains weren’t found until January 2000.