Witness: Bulger Threatened Life Over Drug Business

A former drug dealer says he built a booming business with James "Whitey" Bulger (BUHL'-jur), 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.

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