'The Departed' Inspiration Whitey Bulger Captured by FBI

After topping the Ten Most Wanted list for 16 years, the Boston mob boss -- accused of 19 murders -- is finally in custody

After 16 years on the lam, James "Whitey" Bulger, a fugitive Boston mob boss who inspired Jack Nicholson's character in The Departed, has been captured by the FBI. According to People, the FBI nabbed Bulger -- a staple on the Bureau's Ten Most Wanted list for the better part of the last two decades -- in California on Wednesday.

Bulger, now 81, was wanted for his role in 19 murders in the 1970s and 1980s in connection with his organized crime ring in the Boston, Mass., area. A former FBI informant, Bulger fled from authorities in January 1995, when retired agent John J. Connolly warned him that his indictment was imminent on charges of racketeering. When Bulger's mob associates found out he was an informant, they aided the FBI in unearthing the graves of Bulger's various victims.

The FBI had long supposed that Bulger was hiding out in California, but hadn't been able to pin down his location. They caught a break in the case last week, after airing some new daytime TV spots aimed at female viewers, describing in detail what was known about Bulger's girlfriend, 60-year-old Catherine Greig. Greig, a dental hygienist, is obsessed with her appearance, frequenting plastic surgeons, teeth cleaners, and beauty salons, a very specific profile which the FBI utilized in notifying the public. After the spots ran for a couple of days, the FBI received a tip that a couple matching the description of Bulger and Greig were holed up in an apartment in Santa Monica, Ca. The FBI arrested them there without incident.

The capture of Bulger was a welcome relief to the FBI. As Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly told reporters this morning, "It's a long time coming, and we're glad he's finally in custody."

Bulger is set to appear in court Thursday, where he will finally face charges of murder, money laundering, extortion and narcotics distribution. Greig will be charged with harboring a fugitive.

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