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
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
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.