Prosecutors say Boston-area gang boss Howie Winter, a predecessor of James "Whitey" Bulger (BUHL'-jur) as head of the Winter Hill Gang in the 1960s and `70s, has been arrested on attempted extortion and conspiracy charges.
The Middlesex District Attorney's office says the 83-year-old Winter, who lives in Millbury, and 70-year-old James Melvin of Braintree were arrested Thursday night. They are accused of attempting to extort $35,000 from each of two individuals who had arranged a $100,000 business loan for a third man last fall.
Prosecutors say the victims began getting threatening phone calls after the borrower stopped making payments in January.
Winter and Melvin are to be arraigned Friday in Somerville District Court. It's not clear if they have attorneys.
The Boston Globe reports that Bulger, an FBI informant, replaced Winter as leader of the Irish gang after Winter was indicted in a horse race-fixing scheme.