Whitey Bulger, a Boston mob boss whose criminal dealings took on an aura of legend and who was once number one on the FBI's Most Wanted List, was finally arrested Wednesday night in Southern California after 16 years on the loose.
The 82-year-old gangster (real name James Bulger) was wanted for his alleged role in at least 19 murders as a ruthless mob boss and FBI informant.
He was taken into custody along with longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig.
The arrest comes two days after a fresh media blitz aired pictures of Bulger and his companion on TV shows such as The View and Live with Regis and Kelly.
Greig was wanted for harboring a federal fugitive.
Bulger was taken into custody without incident at a Santa Monica residence, the FBI said, crediting this week’s publicity campaign for the long-awaited bust.
The last confirmed sighting of Bulger came in London in 2002, and since then the trail had run cold with multiple leads sending FBI agents around the globe.The gangster fled Boston in December 1994, when he was tipped by his corrupt FBI handler John J. “Zip” Connolly Jr. that he was about to be indicted.
The $2 million bounty on Bulger’s elderly head is the largest reward ever offered by the FBI for a domestic fugitive. Until recently, he and 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden topped the most wanted list.
Bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces May 2.
Undeterred, on Monday, the FBI launched a national ad campaign seeking information that would lead to the arrest of Bulger and Greig. It paid off.
Bulger’s reign of terror was punctuated by a number of particularly gruesome mutilation murders of crime rivals and even young girlfriends in Boston.