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FBI Captures Boston Crime Boss 'Whitey' Bulger

June 22, 2011  | 

Photos courtesy of FBI.

A day after law enforcement authorities captured Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger, the fugitive appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom, where he was remanded to Massachusetts to face charges.

Bulger, 81, was captured 17 years after he fled Boston as federal agents were closing in on him. In 1994, agents were on the verge of arresting Bulger in connection with 19 killings, racketeering, and other crimes. Bulger once ran Boston's violent Winter Hill gang.

He was arrested in Santa Monica, Calif., where he lived with girlfriend Catherine Greig, 60. Greig, who was also captured, was wanted for harboring a fugitive.

In the quiet South Boston neighborhood of Squantum where Bulger lived with Greig from 1986 to 1995, several former neighbors told the Boston Globe they had assumed Bulger was dead.

The managers of the apartment where the two lived recalled the couple, who went by the names Charles and Carol Gasko, as ideal tenants who always paid their rent on time and in cash.

Bulger was the subject of several books as well as "The Departed," a 2006 Martin Scorsese film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson. He had been listed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.

The FBI credited the arrest to its 30-second public service announcement (PSA) that began airing Tuesday in 10 states including California. The PSA focused on Greig's physical appearance, habits, and personality traits. It was directed specifically at women who might come in contact with her at places such as the beauty parlor or doctor's office. After the PSA began to air, several hundred tips flowed into the FBI, and one of them led to the arrest Wednesday night in a residence near Los Angeles.

"We were trying to reach a different audience to produce new leads in the case," said Richard Teahan, a special agent in Boston who leads a task force that has searched for Bulger around the world. "We believed that locating Greig would lead us to Bulger. And that's exactly what happened."

The PSA included pictures of Greig after her pre-fugitive plastic surgeries and other details including her love of animals. The reward for Bulger's capture had reached $2 million.

Source: Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, CBS News

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