Witness: Bulger threatened life over drug business


BOSTON (AP) - A former drug dealer says he built a booming business with James "Whitey" Bulger, even as Bulger insisted on hiding his involvement and eventually threatened the dealer's life.

William Shea testified Tuesday at the reputed gangster's trial that he built a cocaine-dealing business with Bulger in their South Boston neighborhood that pulled in six figures a week.

But he said Bulger created a "charade" that he wasn't involved to protect his local reputation.

Shea said his friendly relationship with Bulger took a turn after Bulger objected to Shea's plan to leave the operation. He said Bulger brought up Arthur "Bucky" Barrett, a safecracker whom prosecutors say Bulger killed.

Bulger has pleaded not guilty to charges against him, which include participating in 19 slayings. The 83-year-old fled Boston in 1994 and wasn't captured until 2011 in California.