This Day in History, The Gangster ‘Whitey’ Bulger Was Arrested in California (2011)

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On this day in 2011, one of America’s most wanted criminals was arrested. He had escaped the law for some 16 years. James ‘Whitey Bulger’ was a feared and cunning gangster. He was arrested on the west coast of America in Santa Monica, California. He was 81 years old and had been on the run since 1994. The 81-year-old gangster was  one of the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted”. He had been living under an assumed name with his girlfriend. The pair had fled Massachusetts in late 1994. They had escaped after Bulger had been indicted on Federal charges.  Despite a reward of 2 million dollars for information on his whereabouts, the FBI was not able to establish any leads about his whereabouts.

Bulger was born in 1929 into the largely Irish area of South Boston. He was nicknamed ‘Whitey’ because of his blond hair. He became a bank robber and served time in a Federal Penitentiary. He returned to Boston and established an organized crime Empire. He and his partner, Stephen Flemmi, dominated the drug running, extortion, and other criminal activities on the South side of Boston.  However, Bulger had a secret he was also an FBI informant.  He would pass on information on another gangster, his rivals and in this way he received the protection of some  members of the FBI. While he was working as an informant for the FBI, he was also committing crimes, including several murders and gun running. He was involved in a plot to send guns to the Irish Republican Army. He was not found for some 16 years.

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The Apartment where Whitey Bulger was arrested

After many years of failures, the FBI concentrated on his female companion and they broadcast pictures of her on TV. She was identified by one viewer and the FBI were told that she was living as Carol Gasko. When the FBI tracked her down they arrested her and Whitey Bulger. They had been living in a modest apartment.

It seemed that Bulger had travelled widely and even had visited Mexico. He was usually in disguise and had a series of aliases. Some believe that Whitey had undergone some cosmetic surgery to disguise his appearance.

After their arrest, Bulger and Greig were returned to Boston. In  2013 Bulger went on trial, and on August 12th of that , he was convicted in a federal court in Boston. He was found guilty of participating in  some 11 murders. Bulger was later sentenced to two life terms in prison.

Bulger became a legend in the American Underworld and several books and films have been made about him and his life.

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