A gangster on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list who had been in hiding for 16 years was apprehended last week, thanks in large part to a tip from an Icelander.
James “Whitey’’ Bulger, head of an organised crime syndicate in Boston who fled a federal racketeering indictment in January 1995, was rumoured to be living in numerous places around the world. There had even been a rumour last April that he had died of a heart attack in Costa Rica. Last week, he was arrested in his home in Santa Monica, California.
What led the feds to Bulger was due in large part to a tip they received after launching a publicity campaign that highlighted Bulger’s girlfriend, Catherine Greig. As the Boston Globe reports:
Yesterday, the FBI and US Marshal from Massachusetts issued a joint statement rejecting media reports that they initially gave a low priority to the tip that finally led to Bulger’s arrest. They stressed that the tip, which came from a source in Iceland, was immediately turned over to the FBI agent responsible for the Bulger Task Force, who verified the tip’s legitimacy. The tipster, a woman who had encountered the fugitives in Santa Monica, told authorities that Bulger was going by the name Charles Gasko, a name that didn’t correspond to anyone in California, suggesting it was a fake.
“Less than 24 hours after the supervisory agent first reviewed the tip, Mr. Bulger and Ms. Greig were arrested,’’ according to the statement from Richard DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the Boston Division of the FBI, and John Gibbons, US marshal for Massachusetts.
Greig was arraigned in the federal District Court of the First Circuit in Boston on charges of harboring a fugitive and is currently seeking release on bail. Bulger has not sought bail. He remains in custody at the Plymouth County House of Correction in Plymouth, Massachusetts.