Murder Over Miami: Irish Mob In Boston Bumped Off John Callahan To Keep Him Quiet In Okla. Homicide Probe, Feds Allowed It

September 30, 2022 — Boston mob associate John Callahan was killed in the summer of 1982 to cover up the murder of World Jai Lai owner Roger Wheeler a year earlier in Oklahoma. The FBI protected the shot callers in both hits for decades before the unholy alliance between government and gangsters in Beantown was rooted out and terminated.

Callahan and Boston’s Winter Hill Gang were stealing millions from Wheeler’s niche sports league’s concessions and parking contracts. Jai Lai is high-speed handball played with wooden-scoop rackets. At its peak of popularity in the United States in the 1970s and 80s, Jai Lai operated solely in Florida and New England and attracted big betting numbers from its fan base. The game was invented in Europe in a region between France and Spain.

The Winter Hill Gang was Boston’s Irish mob led by notorious crime lord James (Whitey) Bulger. Under Bulger’s stewardship, the Winter Hill crew got heavy into drugs and sports fixing. Throughout the 1970s, the Winter Hill Gang fixed horse and dog races across the country.

Callahan was found shot to death in the trunk of his car at Miami International Airport on August 2, 1982. He had been summoned to Florida, where he had a vacation home, by the Winter Hill Gang for a meeting. Weeks before Callahan was killed, the FBI raided his Winchester, Massachusetts home and downtown Boston office.

Per court records, Callahan helped Bulger plan the Wheeler homicide and Bulger worried he was going to cooperate with police in the investigation into Wheeler’s high-profile execution. Police found a single dime on Callahan’s chest indicating his killers thought he was talking.

Bulger had at least two dirty FBI agents on his payroll for almost 20 years. Paul Rico, a retired corrupt G-Man loyal to Bulger and the Winter Hill Gang, was employed as World Jai Lai’s Director of Security and acted as the group’s “inside man” in their thievery. Rico originally recruited Bulger as an FBI informant in the 1960s.

Wheeler was killed in the parking lot of Tulsa’s ritzy Southern Hills Country Club in the late afternoon of May 27, 1981, shot between the eyes behind the wheel of his Cadillac. The strong-willed 55-year old Oklahoma audio-tech had made it known he wasn’t going to be bullied by Callahan and the Winter Hill crew in his ownership and operation of World Jai Lai.

Callahan built his wealth through the oil business. His Telex Corp., an electronics company focused on sound equipment and accessories he bought in the 1960s and rapidly expanded, had more than 5,000 emplo

yees in Oklahoma.

A native of the South Boston area, Wheeler purchased World Jai Lai for $55,000,000 from Callahan and his partners in 1978 after Callahan was forced out of the business by state authorities in Connecticut for ties to organized crime, specifically Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang crew. Callahan tried to buy the business back from Wheeler upon Wheeler getting suspicious of the Winter Hill Gang’s intentions and actions in regards to World Jai Lai, but Wheeler turned down his lucrative offers reaching upwards of $80,000,000.

The blood-lusting Bulger sent Winter Hill Gang hit man, John (Johnny On The Spot) Martorano to Oklahoma to kill Roger Wheeler. Martorano received the murder contract for John Callahan from Bulger as well. Callahan and Martorano were close friends and Martorano was staying at Callahan’s house in South Florida at the time of Callahan’s slaying. Both murders were recreated for the big screen in the 2015 film Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp as Bulger.

By his own admission, Martorano has killed 20 people. Along with Bulger, he killed fellow Winter Hill Gang lieutenant Brian Halloran three months before Callahan in the parking lot of a South Boston restaurant near the water. Halloran was offering authorities on the Wheeler hit and the corrupted agents in the FBI tipped off Bulger.

Callahan, 45. was shot inside a van stolen by Martorano after Martorano picked him up from the airport. He flew into Miami from Boston at Martorano’s urging on July 28, 1982. Before buying into World Jai Lai in 1974, Callahan worked as an executive accountant at Ernst & Young and Andersen Partners Consulting and acted in an official advisory capacity to the First National Bank of Boston.

Over the years, investigators in Tulsa and Miami were obstructed from going after the respective case’s “Boston angle,” by federal agents in the FBI’s Boston office trying to protect Bulger as a confidential informant. Although the Winter Hill Gang was considered the Irish mob, the group included Italian members, like Johnny Martorano and Bulger’s right-hand man Stevie (The Rifleman) Flemmi, another confidential informant for the FBI. Martorano’s brother Jimmy went on to become a capo in New England’s Italian mafia, also known as the Patriarca crime family.

Whitey Bulger’s wild reign atop the Beantown rackets lasted from the 1970s until 1995, when he was indicted for racketeering and over than a dozen homicides, went on the run for the better part of 20 years. Bulge

r was finally arrested in 2011 hiding in Los Angeles with his longtime girlfriend.

Following three decades of protection from the feds in exchange for feeding them intelligence on his counterparts in the Patriarca clan, Bulger was finally indicted for murdering Roger Wheeler and John Callahan in 2001. Martorano flipped on Bulger and Flemmi when he found out they had been cooperating with the government behind his back for years. Flemmi would turn against Bulger, too.

Bulger was slain himself inside a West Virginia federal prison in October 2018 at the age of 89, beaten to death by padlocks attached to leather belts. Martorano, 81, is alive and living in the Witness Protection Program under a new identity. Flemmi, 88, remains locked up.

1 thought on “Murder Over Miami: Irish Mob In Boston Bumped Off John Callahan To Keep Him Quiet In Okla. Homicide Probe, Feds Allowed It

  1. pete venute a mobbed up drug dealer from melrose park,ill was involved too. callahan was trying to muscle in on venute’s las vegas cocaine dealing network

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