Born in the Irish speaking part of Ireland, Ros Muc, Connemara in County Galway, Patrick Nee emigrated to the US when he was young, along with his parents and siblings. The family settled in Boston.
When the Vietnam War broke out Pat Nee joined up with the Marines and was sent out to the frontlines, for more about that Nee’s biography A Criminal and an Irishman, tells the story of his Vietnam exploits.
When he returned to Boston after the war his brother Peter was shot to death outside a bar in Boston by a man named Kevin Daily. A couple of months later Pat Nee would get revenge, he waited outside Daily’s house and when he seen him he shot Daily a few times, bursting his lung. While Daily was lying on the ground Pat Nee kicked him in the mouth and spitting on him. Nee was arrested and charged with attempted murder, however, when the case reached court Kevin Daily refused to identify Nee, saying Nee was not the man that shot him.
He joined up with the Mullins Gang in 1966, and would become one of the leaders of the gang in the gang war against the Killeen gang. The gang war wound on with tit for tat shootings and killings happening on a regular basis. Among the Killeens men was Whitey Bulger, who was an enforcer for the gang.
Both mobsters knew who the other was, they had even been with each other the night the mob war began, they had heard of some trouble in a bar between the factions and had travelled to the bar together in a car.
As the mob war continued, Pat Nee had seen a chance to take Bulger out. Nee and an associate were sitting in a bar in Southie, it would have been rush hour when Nee had noticed Bulger’s blue Ford stuck in the traffic. Nee had gotten a .38 gun and went outside to make his way to Bulger’s car.
As Pat Nee made his way down the street and through the traffic towards Bulger’s car he could see the passengers who were with Bulger, Jack Curran and a man known as Red. It was Jack Curran that had seen Pat Nee moving toward them, who obviously let Bulger know what was happening.
Bulger’s car was caught at a red light and blocked in by two cars, one in front and one behind. As it was, Bulger was a sitting duck but he managed to put two wheels onto the pavement and put the foot down, the underside of the car was scrapping along the ground but by the time Nee had stopped and positioned himself to take a shot, Bulger had escaped and driven off.
Pat Nee knew that Whitey Bulger would now be looking for him for revenge which came soon enough.
As a result of the mob war, the people involved went to safe houses, changing their routines etc. Pat Nee, being an ex US Marine used his training to take extra precautions, making sure he wasn’t being tailed or followed, however, in an effort to get a message to him the Mullen’s sent someone to his safe house. Nee wasn’t happy but Jerry Roake assured him he hadn’t been followed and he even drove around the block 3 times to make sure.
Pat Nee had moved out of Southie into an apartment in Bunker Hill, in Charlestown, his girlfriends place. One of the unwritten rules in the war was that no one could be hit while in the company of children, a few lives had been spared just by the fact that a mobsters child was inadvertently present.
Two nights after Pat Nee had the visit from Jerry Roake at the safe house, Nee was watching TV when he noticed a reflection in the window, it was Whitey Bulger standing at the corner of the window with a rifle looking in. Nee jumped up and grabbed his gun, while Bulger took aim but Nee’s sudden movement startled his daughter who had been playing on the floor, she was between Nee & Bulger, both of them just looked at each other for a moment.
Whitey Bulger lowered the gun and made a run for it. Nee made a dash for his rifle and chased Bulger. He managed to get Bulger briefly in the scope of his rifle but by the time he had the target on him Bulger had gotten into a waiting car and drove off.
Bulger would make another two attempts on Nee but we’re unsuccessful.
As the mob war came to an end with the shooting of Donald Killen by Jimmy Manteville and Tommy King a sit down was called between the Mullen’s and Killeen’s that was brokered by Howie Winter, who spoke for Pat Nee and the Mullen’s while Joe Russo spoke for Whitey Bulger and the Killeen’s. Joe Russo was a trusted member of Gerry Angiulo’s crew, Angiulo was boss of Boston’s North End Mafia family. All sides agreed to the peace deal.
Pat Nee and Whitey Bulger were now working together though Nee never trusted Bulger.
Pat Nee eventually became an activist for the IRA cause during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. He would fundraise through armed robbery, buy weapons and send them back to Ireland in the bottom of coffins of people who wanted to be buried back home etc.
As time went by the shipments became bigger, eventually leading to a massive shipment that would be sent on board the Valhalla. The arms shipment measured 7 tonnes and cost close to $1,000,000.
The plan was to send the Valhalla across the Atlantic where it would be met by another boat, the Marita Ann that would transport the shipment the rest of the way to Ireland. However, there were informants within the crews, John McIntyre on the Boston side and Sean O’Callaghan on the Irish side, neither were connected. The shipment was transferred from the Valhalla to the Marita Ann but was caught by the Irish Navy as it entered Irish Water.
Back in Boston corrupt FBI agent John Connolly found out the informants name and gave it to Bulger. Pat Nee drove McIntyre to a house in South Boston where Whitey Bulger, Steve Flemmi and Kevin Weeks were waiting for him, Nee said he believed that they just wanted to talk to McIntyre but instead they tortured him. Whitey Bulger tried to strangle McIntyre with a rope but it was too thick and Bulger said to McIntyre “Do you want one in the head” to which he replied “Yes Please”.
Bulger tipped Nee off that the FBI were looking for him, leading Nee to go on the run for a few years until he was eventually arrested and sentenced to 18 months.