Notorious Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, on the lam for 16 years and facing a murder indictment in Miami, was arrested late Wednesday in Los Angeles.
The FBI arrested Bulger, 81, and his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, 60, after a tip from a recently launched publicity campaign. Both are supposed to appear in a Los Angeles federal court Thursday.
Bulger is facing a slew of federal charges in Boston, and is also facing a Miami-Dade murder charge for the 1982 slaying of former World Jai-Alai owner James Callahan, whose bullet-ridden body was found in the trunk of a car at Miami International Airport. A one-time federal informant, Bulger is accused of corrupting his FBI agent handler, John J. Connolly.
“James ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s criminal activities have been marked by the corpses his killers and associates have left behind in car trunks and alleyways,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement Thursday morning. “After a 16-year delay, I will be working to ensure that a Miami jury has the opportunity to look him in the eyes and determine his fate just as we did with his associate, ex-FBI agent John J. Connolly, Jr.”
For years, Bulger was the FBI’s second most wanted fugitive after Osama bin Laden. His saga of corruption and greed became crime lore in Boston. Bulger and Connolly served as loose inspiration for the 2006 Oscar-winning flick The Departed.
In November 2008, Miami-Dade jurors convicted Connolly of second-degree murder in the Callahan slaying. He was sentenced to 40 years in a Florida prison.
During the 2008 Miami-Dade trial, jurors heard that Connolly accepted money from Bulger and his top lieutenant, Stephen Flemmi, while shielding them from prosecution and leaking identities of gangland turncoats. Callahan, a former Miami World Jai-Alai executive fond of drinking with gangsters, had asked the gang to execute the company’s owner, Oklahoma businessman Roger Wheeler, over a business dispute.
Bulger and Flemmi dispatched hit man John Martorano, who in 1981 felled Wheeler with a bullet between the eyes at a golf course. But by 1982, prosecutors said, Connolly told Bulger and Flemmi that Callahan would soon implicate them in Wheeler’s slaying. They sent Martorano to Miami to kill Callahan.
Martorano admitted to 20 murders, served 12 years in prison and is now free. Flemmi is now serving life in prison. Both men testified against Connolly in the Miami-Dade trial.
Federal officials in Boston say a tip led the FBI to begin surveillance on former mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger’s apartment in Santa Monica, Calif., Wednesday afternoon.