WASHINGTON (Reuters) – On the run for 17 years, the accused Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger and his longtime girlfriend were finally caught in California by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday.
They were arrested without incident at a residence in Santa Monica, the FBI said in a statement, just days after the agency renewed its public campaign to capture Bulger and his 60-year-old girlfriend Catherine Greig.
The 81-year-old former fugitive has been wanted on 19 counts of murder committed in the 1970s and 1980s, drug dealing, extortion, money laundering and conspiracy. He is the older brother of William “Billy” Bulger, a former president of the Massachusetts State Senate.
“Recent publicity produced a tip which led agents to Santa Monica where they located both Bulger and Greig at a residence,” FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauries said in a statement.
A $2 million reward was offered for information leading to Bulger’s arrest and $100,000 for details of Greig’s whereabouts. He was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1999 and she was charged in 1997 with harboring a fugitive.
The FBI late on Wednesday slapped “Captured” tags on the photos they had posted on its website of Bulger and Greig, including ones enhanced of him to account for the time that had passed. Greig had multiple plastic surgeries before fleeing.
Before their capture in California, the last credible sighting of the pair was in London in 2002. Bulger is thought to have traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, Canada and Latin America.
The FBI produced a 30-second public service announcement focused on finding Greig and it began airing on Tuesday during daytime television programs in ten states. It was aimed at aimed at female viewers in the same age group as her.
The agency had hoped a hair-stylist, manicurist, doctor or other acquaintance might recognize Greig, a former dental hygienist.
The two are expected to make initial appearances in federal court in California, though it was not immediately clear when.
Bulger, said to be an avid reader and history buff who likes to take long walks on beaches, has been featured on the television show “America’s Most Wanted” more than a dozen times between 1995 and 2010.
(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington and Ros Krasny in Boston; Editing by Philip Barbara)
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