James “Whitey” Bulger, a notorious Boston gangster on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list for his alleged role in 19 murders, has been captured near Los Angeles after living on the run for 16 years, authorities said Wednesday. The FBI tweeted his capture along with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, early Thursday morning.
Santa Monica Police Sgt. Rudy Flores said the agency informed him of the arrest. Richard Deslauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Boston, and Steven Martinez, FBI assistant director in charge in Los Angeles, told NBC News that recent publicity produced a tip that led agents to Santa Monica, where they located both Bulger and Greig at a residence. The two were arrested without incident and are scheduled for an initial appearance Thursday in Los Angeles federal court. Bulger faces a series of federal charges including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, narcotics distribution, extortion and money laundering. Greig is charged with harboring a fugitive.
Bulger, 81, was the leader of the Winter Hill Gang when he fled in January 1995 after being tipped by a former Boston FBI agent that he was about to be indicted. Bulger was a top-echelon FBI informant. After he fled, he became one of the nation’s most-hunted fugitives, charged in a number of murders that included the slayings of businessmen in Florida and Oklahoma.
Bulger had a place next to Osama bin Laden on the “Ten Most Wanted” list and a $2 million reward was offered for information leading to his arrest. A $100,000 reward was offered for details of Greig’s whereabouts. He was placed on the FBI’s list in 1999 and she was charged in 1997 with harboring a fugitive. The FBI late on Wednesday slapped “Captured” tags on the photos they had posted on its website of Bulger and Greig, including ones enhanced of him to account for the time that had passed. Greig had multiple plastic surgeries before fleeing.
Before their capture in California, the last credible sighting of the pair was in London in 2002. Bulger is thought to have traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, Canada and Latin America.