Winter Hill Gang's Howie Winter, 83, Arrested on Extortion Charges

Winter ran the Winter Hill Gang out of Somerville before James "Whitey" Bulger took it over.

Howie Winter, 83, former head of Somerville's infamous Winter Hill Gang, has been arrested and charged with extortion, according to an announcement from the Middlesex District Attorney's office.

Winter was arrested last night at his home in Millbury, the announcement says. A second man, James Melvin, 70, of Braintree, was also arrested in connection to the alleged extrotion scheme.

Winter was the former boss of the notorious Winter Hill Gang in Somerville, once the most powerful crime organization in New England outside La Cosa Nostra. James "Whitey" Bulger, who reputedly followed Winter as the gang's leader, made the criminal organization infamous. The gang is named after the Winter Hill neighborhood of Somerville, not after Winter.

According to the announcement, authorities allege that Winter and Melvin extorted money from two unnamed victims who had made a loan of $100,000 to a third man for an unspecified business venture. According to the announcement, the former Winter Hill Gang boss demanded that each of the victims pay $35,000 to Winter for making a loan without his consent or permission.

The announcement says Winter and Melvin conducted this alleged extortion effort at the Sons of Italy in Medford. Son's of Italy is on Broadway, across the street from Somerville's , not far from Winter Hill.

According to the announcement, the two victims did not know who Winter and Melvin were, and when they told the former mob boss they didn't, he allegedly said, "There's no one in the (expletive) country that don't know who I am...when you tell me you don't know who I am, you're full of (expletive). There's nobody that don't (expletive) know me; I wish they didn't know me, OK?"

Winter and Melvin are scheduled to be arraigned Friday morning in .

They were arrested after an investigation by the Massachusetts State Police and Middlesex assistant district attorneys assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney's PACT (Police And Community Together) Unit, according to the announcement.

Read the Boston Globe's coverage of the arrest, which includes a good history of Howie Winter's involvement with the Winter Hill Gang and Boston organized crime, here.

More on the Winter Hill Gang

Including the neighborhood's reaction when James "Whitey" Bulger was arrested in 2011.


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