United Press International

Mobster added to FBI's Most Wanted list

August 19, 1999

BOSTON, Aug. 19 (UPI) More than four years after he vanished, fugitive Boston underworld leader James "Whitey" Bulger has been added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, and a $250,000 reward has been offered for his capture.

Bulger, 69, the head of the city's predominantly Irish Winter Hill Gang, disappeared in December 1994, just as he was about to be arrested on federal racketeering charges.

He was identified during a federal court hearing last year as a longtime FBI informant who ratted on rival mobsters in exchange for special treatment from the government. There has been widespread speculation that he was tipped off about his impending arrest by one of his FBI "handlers."

Despite the embarrassing disclosures, the head of the FBI office in Boston, Barry Mawn, insisted today that the bureau wants Bulger behind bars and pointed to the hefty reward as proof of the bureau's determination to bring him to justice.

Bulger is believed to have traveled widely while he's been on the lam, visiting Ireland, Italy and Canada during his nearly five years in hiding. He is said to be accompanied by a longtime girlfriend, Katherine Grieg, a 48-year-old dental hygienist.

Bulger's second-in-command, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, testified at last year's hearing that he and Bulger had been FBI informants for 25 years, and that he was tipped off about the same secret indictment that named Bulger.

Flemmi, who was arrested in Florida about a year after he and Bulger disappeared, also testified that the two were given carte blanche by the FBI to commit any crime they wanted to short of murder so long as they kept feeding investigators with information about rival underworld factions.

Lawyers for Flemmi and several other mobsters are hoping to use the testimony to get racketeering charges against their clients thrown out on grounds that they had, in effect, been given immunity from prosecution by the government.

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