June 22, 2011 | Whitey Bulger Captured

 Mugshot of Bulger while serving time in Alcatraz for bank robbery, 1959.
 

“When it came to the Bulger investigation, I knew how significant it was to Boston, and that we were going to focus like a laser beam on finding him.”

—Richard DesLauriers, FBI SAC Boston

Notorious crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger had been on the lam since 1995. He had fled Boston after reportedly being tipped off by FBI Agent John Connolly that he was about to be arrested for murder and racketeering. As the leader of the Winter Hill Gang in the predominantly Irish neighborhood of South Boston, Bulger had spent decades playing on both sides of the law—acting as an informant for the FBI while using murder and intimidation to expand his criminal empire. 

Now 16 years later, the FBI thought the key to tracking Bulger down was through his girlfriend and partner in hiding, Catherine Greig. The FBI Boston Field Office put together a media campaign describing Greig and ran it in national spots that appealed to women in Greig’s age bracket. Within 36 hours of the media piece airing, a tip came in placing the couple in Santa Monica, California. A few hours later they were both under arrest.

Richard DesLauriers was the FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office when Bulger was arrested. It was 10 o’clock at night when he got the call notifying him of the arrest, “I was so excited.  I had a smile on my face that was about six inches wide. And my wife came back from the walk and she saw me hanging up the phone, I had this big smile on my face and she said, “You guys must have arrested Whitey Bulger, didn’t you?”*

Whitey Bulger was 84 years old in 2013 when he was sentenced to life in prison for numerous racketeering charges and participation in 11 murders. Catherine Greig was sentenced to eight years in prison for helping Bulger elude the authorities. Retired FBI Agent John Connolly was convicted of corruption in 2002 and of murder in 2008. He is currently serving a life sentence.

 

*For more information on the Whitey Bulger capture, take a look at Richard DesLauriers’s oral history.