Reports are circulating on the Wednesday night that 81 year old fugitive Winter Hill Gang leader James 'Whitey' Bulger was arrested in the Los Angeles area with his 60 year old girlfriend, Catherine Greig.
The two were arrested without incident, the FBI said. The FBI had been conducting a surveillance operation in the area where the arrest was made, Santa Monica police Sgt. Rudy Flores said.As head of the Winter Hill gang, Bulger would provide information to the FBI about the rival Patriarcha family out of Providence, RI while enjoying almost complete protection from the Boston office of the FBI thanks to former Agent Connolly and others.
Bulger- [or "the guy who's picture is up at the Post Office" as he's been referred to for most of my adult life- NANESB!] 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.
Over the years, the FBI battled a public perception that it had not tried very hard to find Bulger, who became a huge source of embarrassment for the agency after the extent of his crimes and the FBI's role in overlooking them became public.
Prosecutors said he went on the run after being warned by John Connolly Jr., an FBI agent who had made Bulger an FBI informant 20 years earlier. Connolly was convicted of racketeering in May 2002 for protecting Bulger and his cohort, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, also an FBI informant.
Bulger had been on the run for the last 16 years and was on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for his suspected role in at least 19 murders. Since then, there has been sporadic reports of Bulger browsing bookstores in western Canada or dying of natural causes and being cremated in Central America. The last reliable sighting of Whitey Bulger was reportedly in London in 2002 when a British businessman who had met Bulger a few years prior saw the fugitive in a hotel gym.
Most recently, the FBI manhunt focused on Bulger's girlfriend, with TV bulletins showing Greig and Bulger together.
Bulger's younger brother William was elected to the state senate and President of UMass, while the FBI suspected he might've been aware of his older brother's criminal activities and may have sporadically been in contact with him.