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James "Whitey" Bulger found.
June 23, 2011 5:00 AM   Subscribe

James "Whitey" Bulger has been arrested in California.

Bulger, along with associate Stephen "The Rifelman" Flemmi secretly worked for years with agents of the Boston FBI as informants - primarily against the Patriarca Mafia family - and in return the FBI used their influence to keep Winter and Flemmi from being prosecuted for many crimes, including murder. After growing up in South Boston and becoming a powerful gangster there, Bulger joined with Somerville's Winter Hill Gang. After the gang leader Howie Winter and several other members of the Winter Hill Gang were convicted and imprisoned, Bulger took over as leader of the gang. (His brother William Bulger achieved a different sort of leadership position during this time.)

James Bulger - he hated the nickname "Whitey" - was also a winner of the Massachusetts Lottery in 1991. While there have been multiple leads and sightings of Bulger over the years of the FBI search, he remained on the run. Bulger was the inspiration for Jack Nicholson's character in "The Departed".

Over the time Bulger has been on the run, his former hangouts have changed - the garage that served as the headquarters for the Winter Hill Gang has become a Pentecostal church

(previously)
posted by rmd1023 (93 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Gangster's Girlfriend Focus of TV Ad Blitz
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:07 AM on June 23, 2011


Said Bulger upon his capture, "Aaaaaaay ... I'm a legitimate businessman!"
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:07 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was going to try and explain some of the changes in Somerville since Bulger went on the run, but it was hard to concisely break down for a FPP. Suffice it to say that Somerville has gone from "Slummerville", the "Home of the Winter Hill Gang" where pinball machines were used as gambling devices, to home of one of the Utne Reader's hippest neighborhoods (well, in 1999) and an active arts scene. Property values changed by nearly an order of magnitude, and much of the light industry has been replaced by tech companies, artists' studios, and we even have a hackerspace.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:10 AM on June 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


Holy wow.
posted by rtha at 5:10 AM on June 23, 2011


Also, I am *SHOCKED* he was in the US. I totally figured he'd be hiding out in Ireland. Or, you know, dead since he's in his 80's now.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:11 AM on June 23, 2011


James "Whitey" Bulger found.

On the moon? Nah, he didn't get that far... just Santa Monica
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:14 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


From the article: Ms. Greig, they said, had had multiple plastic surgeries, got her teeth cleaned once a month, frequented beauty salons and loved dogs.

This must have narrowed down the candidates in Santa Monica to roughly...half the population?
posted by ShutterBun at 5:14 AM on June 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


The arrest came after the F.B.I., stymied in its efforts to find Mr. Bulger, had doubled the reward for information leading to the arrest of Ms. Greig, to $100,000, and began broadcasting public service television advertisements on shows geared to women viewers, such as Dr. Oz, as part of an effort to find Mr. Bulger through Ms. Greig.

Ha!
posted by rtha at 5:19 AM on June 23, 2011


He was on the toilet when FBI agents arrested him.

Yet another piece of evidence for my long-held theory that if you are waiting for a delivery/phone call/arrival of something to your home or office, the quickest way to make them show up is to be in the middle of taking a leisurely crap. Either that or be naked.
posted by elizardbits at 5:20 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Rachel Maddow on the ad campaign targeting Greig.
posted by clauclauclaudia at 5:22 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


This must have narrowed down the candidates in Santa Monica to roughly...half the population?

The account in the news here was just that she was "known for frequenting beauty salons", which made me laugh. It's pretty intriguing though, and I bet there's a massive marketing case study in those FBI ads.
posted by carbide at 5:27 AM on June 23, 2011


Rachel Maddow on the ad campaign targeting Greig.

Is it just me, or does Maddow get more irritating every time I see her?
posted by item at 5:29 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


First OBL. Now Whitey. Can they try for my remote control next?
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:31 AM on June 23, 2011


item: Just you? At any rate, I thought it was quirky-funny and that's why I linked.
posted by clauclauclaudia at 5:32 AM on June 23, 2011


was also a winner of the Massachusetts Lottery in 1991

It's like the reverse of Al Capone getting busted for tax evasion.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:38 AM on June 23, 2011


Photo of lobby directory in Bulger's apartment building.
posted by item at 5:38 AM on June 23, 2011


His brother William Bulger achieved a different sort of leadership position during this time.

not so different...
posted by ennui.bz at 5:40 AM on June 23, 2011


I read this book on Whitey Bulger and the FBI; fascinating story.

Good job on fleshing out the post with some background on this breaking news.
posted by TedW at 5:47 AM on June 23, 2011


Maddow sounds like she is struggling with an epic on the Mango.

Thats Ray
posted by clavdivs at 5:48 AM on June 23, 2011


It's like the reverse of Al Capone getting busted for tax evasion.

Almost but not quite. Whitey didn't "win" the lottery. A customer of a variety story he had muscled himself into owning had a winning ticket, and Whitey and friends visited the winner and "convinced" him that it was in the best interests of everyone to claim that Whitey had been a part-owner of the ticket.

The main reason Whitey did this, besides the obvious monetary gain, is that it gave him almost $90k/yr in income that he could point to when the IRS came around wondering how he had so much money for cars, real estate, etc.

To give you an idea of just how corrupt Massachusetts state politics was (and still is), his brother, Billy Bulger, President of the Massachusetts State Senate, later joked about this openly at the yearly St. Patrick's Day Breakfast (which is a yearly tradition of a sort of politician's roast). All the politicians in the crowd laughed, because everyone knew what had happened, and nobody was going to do a damned thing about it.
posted by tocts at 5:51 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


James Bulger - he hated the nickname "Whitey"

He's not alone. If I have to hear the phrase "James 'Whitey' Bulger" I'm going to go crazy. With extreme prejudice.

I was going to try and explain some of the changes in Somerville since Bulger went on the run...

Yeah, when I read that in the FPP I was like...Somerville...gang? That doesn't add up. What do they do, fling lattes at each other? (A gang named "Winter Hill Gang" doesn't add much testosterone.)
posted by DU at 6:09 AM on June 23, 2011


ShutterBun: "This must have narrowed down the candidates in Santa Monica to roughly...half the population"

At least they didn't say she was last seen carrying a yoga mat.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:09 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess it is "things people in Boston didn't think they'd see" week.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:11 AM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


What do they do, fling lattes at each other?

Wow, I guess Somerville has changed a lot since I lived in Boston ('77 to '84), cause back then Somerville (or Slummerville, as it was sometimes not-so-affectionately referred to) was a fairly bland (one might say bleak) working-class neighborhood with a distinct lack of latte.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:12 AM on June 23, 2011


The Winter Hill Gang is still in business.
posted by Floydd at 6:16 AM on June 23, 2011


... the quickest way to make them show up is to be in the middle of taking a leisurely crap.

Off-topic, but when I was the only person on-shift at my old store, the sure-fire way to make customers want to come in and look around on slow days was to go outside and light a cigarette. At some point I eventually just started waving them in and telling them to not steal anything.
posted by griphus at 6:17 AM on June 23, 2011


Said Bulger upon his capture, "Aaaaaaay ... I'm a legitimate businessman!"

Well until he is convicted in a court of law, he is only a suspect. That is (or should be) the difference between being arrested by the FBI or SEAL Team Six.
posted by three blind mice at 6:19 AM on June 23, 2011


Also, I am *SHOCKED* he was in the US. I totally figured he'd be hiding out in Ireland. Or, you know, dead since he's in his 80's now.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:11 AM on June 23 [+] [!]


Actually since one of his ploys with the FBI was to sell out IRA gun runners, and is alleged to have killed one, I don't think he would have been very welcomed there.
posted by Gungho at 6:19 AM on June 23, 2011


I can't see his name without remembering a very different James Bulger.
posted by bwg at 6:22 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


His Alcatraz mugshot is pretty badass. That's when people knew who to give mugshots. These days, they all either look scared, or tearful, or blank. Bulger looks like he's about to bludgeon the photographer with his tripod.

One of the things I learned when compiling information for the one Mafia FPP I did was how these old gangs are fading away, not so much because of law enforcement efforts but because of old age. That and their kids don't want much to do with it. Take a look at the Five Families, and compare how they were in the 1950s to how they're doing today. Age is a slow-moving, but very accurate, bullet.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:28 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am glad that, thanks to Deval Patrick and Obama, we can finally Kill Whitey.
posted by Eideteker at 6:29 AM on June 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Does anyone have any informative links showing me how I, in the event of being on the wrong side of the FBI, could operate and exist "off the grid"?

Possibly a Robert Greene book, "Dodging Federal Authorities for Dummies", or a WikiHow?
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 6:33 AM on June 23, 2011


I liven in Boston for 5 years and was certain he skipped to Mexico.

As ethnic groups assimilate better into society, their organized crime dynasties wither since legitimate job/housing/political opportunities become available and a life of crime becomes less attractive. (This is pretty much the goal of "The Godfather").

However, nature hates a void, so organized criminal gangs in this country are being formed from out of the Southeast Asian, Russian, Central American and Mexican newcomers, and the cycle continues...

I wonder what his brother thinks of all this; their lives would make for an interesting story.
posted by Renoroc at 6:37 AM on June 23, 2011


I figured they were getting close the other day when the local news media reported that the feds had discovered a house in Quincy still owned by Grieg and being rented out. That's a pretty direct link, and if they were willing to let it be reported on local TV, they had to know they were close to nailing him.
posted by briank at 6:40 AM on June 23, 2011


Gungho: True, but I assumed there'd be enough internal conflict among Irish criminals that he'd be able to find someone who wasn't lethally pissed off at him. He'd blend in well, there, looking like just another old Irish guy, and there's a lot less grid to be off of there than in, say, London (where he had ties). And one EU passport gets you a whole lot of area to travel in if you want to stay on the move.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:46 AM on June 23, 2011


"Aaaaaaay ... I'm a legitimate businessman!"

That reminds me of the time I was in Boston on a meetup. I'd never been to this place before and the address was right so I walked down a dark flight of steps between buildings to this grungy door and opened it. As my eyes adjust, I see a bunch of legitimate businessmen staring at me. I quickly shut the door, bound back up the steps and into the nearest populated cafe. Which is turns out to be where I was supposed to have been in the first place.
posted by DU at 6:50 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Renoroc: Yeah -- The Chinatown gangs have faded and Vietnamese gangs have gotten more powerful, for instance. Given the demographics of Somerville these days - lots of Brazilian immigrants, complete with a rise in Brazilian clothing and grocery stores - I'm really surprised there isn't much of a Brazilian organized crime presence. Or maybe there is and I haven't heard of it. But mostly it seems to be folks from other countries in South America (eg MS-13, which came out of the Salvadoran community)
posted by rmd1023 at 7:02 AM on June 23, 2011


As a lifelong Bostonian, I have to say this is like saying that a verified unicorn has been captured. I never thought I'd see the day.
posted by xingcat at 7:09 AM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


flapjax at midnite:Yeah, it's changed a lot. I mean, there are many different Somerville neighborhoods, but Davis Square has completely gentrified and Union Square is well underway, the whole Cambridge border is more grad student/artist than ever, and "Camberville" is the general term for non-townie Somerville and nearby parts of Cambridge. Well, for English speakers. Not sure what the Portuguese-speaking Brazilian folks call it.
posted by clauclauclaudia at 7:09 AM on June 23, 2011


His Alcatraz mugshot is pretty badass. That's when people knew who to give mugshots. These days, they all either look scared, or tearful, or blank.

The Smoking Gun would like to have a word with you.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:10 AM on June 23, 2011


The Smoking Gun would like to have a word with you.

Right, I also forgot "with their mouth and nose covered in gold spray paint."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:15 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


non-townie Somerville

Words I never would have expected to see in the same sentence.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:20 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Boston Globe article (subscription) pointed out that he is now 81, mentioned that he did not look well, and put up no resistance. It sounds like he just couldn't run any more.
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:22 AM on June 23, 2011


It sounds like he just couldn't run any more.

It may end up being apocryphal, but I heard on the radio that he supposedly slapped the arresting agent on the back and said "congratulations!".
posted by tocts at 7:31 AM on June 23, 2011


I've heard a couple of first-hand (or allegedly first-hand) stories about Whitey from people whom I've known. I have a favorite and I trust the source to be accurate.

A Vietnam Vet (to give you an idea of his age) with whom I used to work was born and raised in Southie. He's actually of Lithuanian ancestry, and it was from him I learned that South Boston had another prominent ethnic groups besides the Irish. His ethnicity isn't important to the story, I'm just mentioning it as an aside because I think it's interesting.

Anyway, Tom's mother's yard abutted the yard belonging to the mother of the Bulger brothers. At some point in the late 70's or early 80's (I forget) Tom's mom had some carpenters working on her house and porch on a late Saturday morning, and about 45 minutes after they commenced working a Cadillac pulled up at the house and a skinny guy in a Sox cap and sunglasses got out. He knocked on the door, introduced himself as Mary Bulger's son (although Tom's mom of course recognized him at this point because they were about the same age and he was notorious). He told Tom's mother that he was sleeping and would the workers please stop. No explanation as to why he was sleeping at his mom's, or why he drove around the block, when he could have walked nearly as quickly or just gone up to the fence.

It was a totally unreasonable request, seeing as how it wasn't inconsiderately early, but it was also Whitey Bulger making it, so Tom's mom tried to compromise and said that she would ask everyone to work more quietly. Bulger said something to the effect of "make sure that you do that," and left. Tom's mom went over to Tom and the carpenters and explained who the guy in the Caddy was, and that he had left when she agreed that they would be more quiet.

They went back to working while trying to be quiet, but carpentry is about using power tools and pounding nails so there probably wasn't much difference in noise levels. A few minutes after they recommenced, the Caddy pulled up again, and Whitey got out carrying a leather satchel. Tom walked over to him so that he wouldn't have to knock. Bulger stiffened and growled "I asked you to knock it off. Tell the guys to come back this afternoon." He opened the satchel and there was a submachine gun inside. "We understand each other?" he continued.

The carpenters were very understanding and took a four-hour break before fixing the porch and the door.

Multiple murders establishes the guy as an asshole much better than flashing a gun to enforce neighborhood tranquility, but I think the story is an interesting example of Whitey's character.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:43 AM on June 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


It's more than just Davis that's gentrified. Basically all of West Somerville, with the exception of the Clarendon Hill Towers (and poor Teele Sq which is trying to cash in on all this gentrification, but can't quite seem to keep a restaurant at Broadway & Curtis), is expensive real estate these days. That's not to say there aren't still locals around - my neighbor screams at her kids and dogs in a decidedly local accent - but there are a lot of young professionals/grad students in the area. Inman and Union have both gentrified dramatically just in the time I've lived in Somerville, about 5 years. Winter Hill is definitely on its way up, but decidedly less nice - it still doesn't have great T access. You can see the rent prices drop dramatically about when you pass Trum Field on Broadway. East Somerville (roughly when you cross the McGrath) is much more 'urban' and extremely Brazillian. The closer you get to Sullivan, the sketchier the neighborhood gets.

It will be interesting to watch what happens when/if the Green Line extention is finally built. T access makes a HUGE difference in Boston neighborhoods. That's why Davis gentrified so quickly in the first place. (And as noted, I'm not a true local - really, I'm a symptom of all this myself.)
posted by maryr at 8:02 AM on June 23, 2011


'It may end up being apocryphal, but I heard on the radio that he supposedly slapped the arresting agent on the back and said "congratulations!".'

No, it's apocryphal right now, unless you have some proof.
posted by Eideteker at 8:10 AM on June 23, 2011


The other thing that really helped Davis take off was the end of rent control in Cambridge. So a lot of people who had been living there moved across the border to Somerville, and they went where the T was. Somerville started getting a lot artier then, which coupled with the growth in Davis (Hello Diesel, Hello Someday) to really bootstrap the hip culture there.

I live near Somerville city hall, on the Winter Hill side of things at Gilman Square (and sort of around the corner from the Marshall St garage where the Winter Hill gang hung out), and I explain to people "You know the cool trendy parts of Somerville? Yeah, I don't live there."
posted by rmd1023 at 8:15 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow. Whitey is the devil.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:23 AM on June 23, 2011


Red Sox win the World Series. Twice.
Bruins win the Cup.
Celtics hang #17.
Patriots win 3 Super Bowls in four years.
...and the FBI nabs Whitey Bulger. End times, indeed. =)
posted by andreaazure at 8:23 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Red Sox win the World Series. Twice.
Bruins win the Cup.
Celtics hang #17.
Patriots win 3 Super Bowls in four years.
...and the FBI nabs Whitey Bulger. End times, indeed. =)


I've been recommending Grantland to people recently.

One of the most hilarious bits I've read recently involved Bill Simmons talking to a ten year old kid. The kid says, "Well, I've seen the Grand Slam. Sox win the series, Pats win the Super Bowl, Celts win a championship, and now the Bruins." From what I remember, Simmons desire to choke the life out of that kid was really, really palpable.

I'll dig up the actual article when I get to work.
posted by Sphinx at 8:57 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here it is:

Another sign: My buddy Sully's son Aidan said last night, "My grand slam is complete — 10 years, all four teams." He was talking about Boston championships. And the fact that he's only 10 years old. Good God.
posted by Sphinx at 8:58 AM on June 23, 2011


Apparently Whitey Bulger was sharing a Santa Monica residence with his girlfriend and another woman. To keep his landlord from getting suspicious he pretended to be a gay culinary student.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 9:08 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


first time "whitey" gets arrested in america?
chalk another one to the black president.













heh.
posted by liza at 9:22 AM on June 23, 2011


Oh, yeah, I should recommend - in addition to "Black Mass" (linked to above), there's a new book called Citizen Somerville about life in Somerville during the rise of the Winter Hill gang, Howie Winter, Jimmy Bulger, et al. It's still on my "to read" list, but folks I know who've read it speak really well of it.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:22 AM on June 23, 2011


...their kids don't want much to do with it.

Yeah, running a gang and all the mess that it entails isn't near as pleasant as being CEO in charge of banking. Much easier to steal legally.


I'll be the relations of the people he murdered don't find Bulger near as fascinating a character as the rest of us.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:52 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tune to AM 680 at 3 pm to hear Howie Carr have a double orgasm on air. Someone alert the FCC ahead of time.
posted by shushufindi at 10:14 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I lived in Winter Hill for 9 years from the late 90's to the late Oughts. It should be noted that while the Winter Hill Gang operated in Somerville in the 60's & 70's during the time of the Irish Gang Wars. When Whitey took over he operated the gang from South Boston so his criminal activities in the 80s & 90s (those sanctioned by the FBI & otherwise) are not really connected with Somerville.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 10:22 AM on June 23, 2011


Yeah, when I read that in the FPP I was like...Somerville...gang? That doesn't add up. What do they do, fling lattes at each other?

I work in the planning office in Somerville. You have no idea.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 11:17 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Good post, rmd1023. I lived in East Somerville just down the road from Winter Hill for a couple years in the late '90s. Not sure what it's like there now, but it was still kind of a craphole at the time, even though the Davis and Porter Square areas were in the midst of gentrification.
posted by dhammond at 11:27 AM on June 23, 2011


Does anyone have any informative links showing me how I, in the event of being on the wrong side of the FBI, could operate and exist "off the grid"?

Well, I Am Not a Number had a 2nd edition in 2003.
posted by Zed at 11:40 AM on June 23, 2011


dhammond: thanks! And East Somerville is still kind of a craphole -- most of the gentrification hasn't made it past the McGrath highway. East Broadway has a coffee shop now, so that's changing a bit, and the pottery studio there (Mudflat, I think) is expanding. But I think the Sullivan Square rotary is enough of a suck that it's keeping the area unattractive as a place to hang out, and making it unattractive for businesses. Plus there's this impression among folks that anything east of Lowell street is OH GOD THE DANGEROUS GHETTO HOOD or something.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:51 AM on June 23, 2011


I work in the planning office in Somerville. You have no idea.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 2:17 PM on June 23


Eponysterical username? :)
posted by rmd1023 at 11:52 AM on June 23, 2011


This trial is going to be a mess. A fascinating mess. Bulger knows, literally, where the bodies are buried. He's got dirt on a lot of people.

Also interesting and not mentioned, Bulger was a test subject of the MKULTRA program.
posted by outlaw of averages at 11:56 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was glad to see that I'm not the only wishful thinker still holding out (probably vain) hope that he might have something to cough up regarding the Gardner heist.
posted by scody at 12:07 PM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Bulger knows, literally, where the bodies are buried. He's got dirt on a lot of people.

He literally has dirt on a lot of people.
posted by maryr at 1:21 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, were the 13 paintings stolen from Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on the walls of his bedroom?
posted by R. Mutt at 1:37 PM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Bulger’s Neighbors Knew a ‘Nice’ Couple Who Took Walks

Janus Goodwin, 61, who lived on the same floor as Mr. Bulger and Ms. Greig, came to know the couple in 1999. She said Mr. Bulger rarely left the apartment.

“When I would be invited in, he would always be lying on the sofa, watching TV,” Ms. Goodwin said. “He was very proud of his little art pieces, which were cheap knockoffs of Monet and Van Gogh.”



Cheap knockoffs, you say?
posted by R. Mutt at 2:23 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm still mad about the Gardner heist. I spent a lot of time there in high school, and it's a small museum, so I got to know it well. The heist felt personal, as if someone had broken into my apartment and stolen my actual stuff. This is one of those times when I really hope there's a hell, and the people responsible for this will burn.
posted by rtha at 2:26 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


... he might have something to cough up regarding the Gardner heist.

For those unfamiliar with the heist -- previous MeFI FPP: Gone, baby, gone.
posted by ericb at 3:14 PM on June 23, 2011


... it's a small museum ...

But, these days restoration and expansion.
posted by ericb at 3:18 PM on June 23, 2011


*these days undergoing*
posted by ericb at 3:19 PM on June 23, 2011


Boston's PBS/WGBH 2001 documentary on Bulger and FBI agent, John Connolly: The Outlaw and the Lawman [video | 27:00].
posted by ericb at 3:23 PM on June 23, 2011


Plus there's this impression among folks that anything east of Lowell street is OH GOD THE DANGEROUS GHETTO HOOD or something.

When we were moving here, and I was looking at apartments, I wanted to look at one near Sullivan, and an apartment broker told me in hushed tones that it was "not desirable" and was "very dangerous." I looked up the previous year's crime stats. 0 murders for the whole city.

Not that non-violent crime is something to sneeze at (getting burgled has made me paranoid about barring and locking windows), but yeah, people get killed in dangerous places. At least once a year.
posted by ignignokt at 4:01 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Makes you wonder what the FBI was working on. Someone spends years on the case and a matter of airing a few wanted ads during women's shows? I wonder what the cost is per man hunt.
posted by brent at 4:40 PM on June 23, 2011


Makes you wonder what the FBI was working on

There are many people who suspect that it was not in the FBI's best interest to actually find him.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:14 PM on June 23, 2011


Does anyone have any informative links showing me how I, in the event of being on the wrong side of the FBI, could operate and exist "off the grid"?


How to Disappear in America

posted by zachhouston at 8:49 PM on June 23, 2011


R. Mutt, could you elaborate on that?
posted by Neofelis at 8:49 PM on June 23, 2011


There are many people who suspect that it was not in the FBI's best interest to actually find him.

R. Mutt is probably referring to Whitey's relationship with John Connolly, who was an FBI Agent who was assigned as Whitey's handler when Bulger was an organized crime informant. Connolly was from South Boston and assigned to Whitey because the Feds figured that they would get more out of Bulger with someone from the neighborhood. Connolly was more loyal to Southie and Bulger than the FBI, and essentially the two had a system wherein Bulger was free to commit crimes including murder while ratting out his rivals. Connolly is believed (or maybe has even admitted) to tipping off Bulger that he was about to be arrested.

Some people feel that Bulger's arrest will expose more dirt on corruption in the FBI. I don't know how true that is seeing as how Connolly been tried and the whole chain of incidents is pretty well-documented.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:01 AM on June 24, 2011


Good article in the NYT: Long Elusive, Mob Legend Ended Up a Recluse
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:16 AM on June 24, 2011


'Rageaholic' Bulger headed back to Boston; could spill beans on crooked lawmen.
posted by ericb at 9:48 AM on June 24, 2011


From ericb's link:

The Bulger arrest could have a huge impact on whether Connolly spends the rest of his life in a Florida prison. Connolly is set for release next Tuesday from a federal penitentiary after serving nearly 10 years for his Boston racketeering conviction.

That's one helluva coincidence.
posted by scody at 10:46 AM on June 24, 2011


Ain't it, though?
posted by rtha at 10:47 AM on June 24, 2011


He's being transferred to a state prison in, I think, Florida to serve 40 years.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:16 PM on June 24, 2011


Heh, just a friend a comment from a friend on Facebook. He apparently lived next door to Bulger for a couple years in Santa Monica (having previously lived in Boston) and never knew it.
posted by maryr at 1:28 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just *saw* a comment from a friend...
posted by maryr at 1:28 PM on June 24, 2011


Thanks for the interesting links and info. It's especially interesting to hear from Bostonians who never expected to see this guy arrested. I feel so silly for never having heard of him.
posted by Neofelis at 11:44 PM on June 25, 2011


Boston Globe: Bulger offers new details to authorities.

Interesting tidbits:
" ... A chatty James 'Whitey’' Bulger provided FBI agents with intriguing details about his life on the run after his arrest last week, boasting that he routinely slipped into Mexico to buy medicine for a heart condition, according to a law enforcement official.

... [He] allowed law enforcement officials to search his two-bedroom apartment without a search warrant, Inside, they found a false wall that Bulger used to conceal a cache of weapons, and perhaps contradicting reports that Bulger was in ill health, exercise equipment that included a punching bag.

... A niece, the daughter of former Senate President William Bulger, lived 2 miles from Bulger’s address back in 1992.

... The FBI has known about Bulger’s interest in buying prescription drugs from Mexico since at least 2000, when agents distributed wanted posters in English and Spanish along the US-Mexican border. Earlier that year, a witness reported seeing Bulger outside a hair salon in Fountain City, Calif., about 50 miles from where he was finally arrested. The tipster said that a woman who looked like Greig was inside the salon while Bulger waited outside. A 2008 tipster told the TV show 'America’s Most Wanted' that he had talked to Bulger on the Santa Monica pier.

... 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.

... The arresting officers found extensive exercise equipment in the apartment, including an unusual punching bag. Bond, the property manager, said the punching bag was painted to look like a man’s torso and was kept in front of the window of the third-floor apartment so that it was visible from the street. Bulger draped a hat on top of the punching bag, which made it appear like a person sitting by the window ... "
posted by ericb at 10:06 AM on June 26, 2011


I was glad to see that I'm not the only wishful thinker still holding out (probably vain) hope that he might have something to cough up regarding the Gardner heist.

Boston Globe: Bulger arrest may yield clues on art heist
"The capture last week of Boston’s most sought-after criminal has given rise to speculation about the potential return of the city’s most sought-after art objects: the 13 pieces of artwork stolen from Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

The US Justice Department and close associates of mobster James 'Whitey' Bulger have long denied any link between him and the art heist, the biggest in history. Still, former federal prosecutors and FBI agents said after Bulger’s arrest that the Gardner theft looms as a prime topic of conversation between investigators and the South Boston native — if he agrees to cooperate with authorities."
posted by ericb at 10:11 AM on June 26, 2011


Tune to AM 680 at 3 pm to hear Howie Carr have a double orgasm on air. Someone alert the FCC ahead of time.

From the desk of Howie Carr: Let’s talk, Whitey.
posted by ericb at 10:16 AM on June 26, 2011


Catherine Greig on hot seat -- "Bulger moll may have secrets on Whitey’s flight."
posted by ericb at 10:18 AM on June 26, 2011


Brazen Bulger toured Alcatraz while on the lam
"Even when he was on the lam, Whitey Bulger was a 'Rock' star.

At one point during his epic, 16-year run from justice, the bloodthirsty Boston gangland baron posed as a common tourist during a brazen visit to his old stomping grounds -- Alcatraz Island.

Although he was one of the country's most wanted fugitives, Bulger took time out to don cartoonish prison stripes at a photo booth outside the legendary San Francisco prison -- and a source close to his family provided the pictures to prove it.

One of Bulger's many mob molls, gal pal Teresa Stanley, was at his side. She also slipped into some jailbird garb stenciled with the phrase 'Property of Alcatraz,' and smiled as if she hadn't a care in the world."
posted by ericb at 10:29 AM on June 26, 2011


FBI shame casts a long shadow
" ... nothing in this case has ever been as it first appears.

... The FBI never told the truth about anything involving Whitey Bulger, so it’s not really surprising that so many of us don’t necessarily believe the FBI now."
posted by ericb at 10:33 AM on June 26, 2011


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