"Whitey" Bulger to face charges in Massachusetts
LOS ANGELES - Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger has appeared in Los Angeles federal court and been remanded to Massachusetts to face charges.
Bulger appeared Thursday with girlfriend Catherine Greig and waived his right to a removal hearing.
The pair were arrested late Wednesday in their suburban Santa Monica apartment after 16 years on the run.
Balding, with a full white beard and wire-rimmed glassed, Bulger clutched court documents against his chest when he appeared before Magistrate Judge John McDermott. Bulger told the court he understood the charges against him.
Bulger smiled as he was led away by a cadre of law enforcement agents.
The managers, who asked their names not be used because they didn't want additional attention from the media, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the couple moved in around 1996.
Bulger was arrested Wednesday evening. He had been on the run since 1995.
The managers recalled the couple, who went by the names Charles and Carol Gasko, as ideal tenants who always paid their rent on time.
Santa Monica property records show the apartment had a rent-controlled rate of $1,145 a month.
Authorities found a stash of cash totaling "hundreds of thousands of dollars" and nearly 30 guns, including two shotguns and an assortment of handguns, in a search of the apartment after his capture near Los Angeles, law enforcement sources told CBS News Thursday.
CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reports that the 81-year-old Bulger and longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig had apparently been living in the Santa Monica apartment for "some time" during their 16 years on the lam, one source said. The stockpile of easily accessible cash indicated that they were ready to move when necessary.
It seems that Bulger and Greig were living on their own with no obvious network of supporters, but that facet of the investigation is continuing, Orr reports.
After embarrassing the FBI and exposing the bureau's corrupt relationship with its underworld informants, Bulger was finally arrested Wednesday with Greig, just days after the government launched a publicity campaign to locate the fugitive crime boss by circulating pictures of her on daytime TV and on billboards, the FBI said.
The arrest was based on a tip from the campaign, the FBI said. Bulger was "verbally combative" with authorities but didn't resist arrest, Orr reports. He eventually settled down and has been speaking with authorities.
The FBI deemed the tip promising and began surveillance on the apartment complex just after 4 p.m. on Wednesday, federal officials said. They said agents soon spotted Bulger and Greig, and using a ruse they wouldn't explain, lured Bulger out of his apartment. They then arrested him without incident, and then arrested Greig, officials said.
Bulger had a $2 million reward on his head and rose to No. 1 on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list after Osama bin Laden was killed.In 2006, Bulger's most trusted lieutenant and enforcer, Kevin Weeks, sat down with "60 Minutes'" Ed Bradley to talk about his former mentor.
"He stabbed people, he beat people with a bat, he shot people, he strangled people. He run people over with a car," Weeks told Ed Bradley, explaining that Bulger even seemed to enjoy killing people. "After he killed someone, it was like a stress relief for him. He'd be all nice and calm for weeks after."
According to a law enforcement source who spoke to CBS News, the U.S. government believed Bulger spent time on the island of St. Maarten, in Ft. Lauderdale, the Bahamas and London while on the run. According to source, he was in London to pick up cash and holds at least three U.S. and one Irish passport.
An inspiration for the ruthless gangland boss in the 2006 Martin Scorsese movie "The Departed," Bulger was wanted for 19 murders. One victim was shot between the eyes in a parking lot at his country club in Oklahoma. Another was gunned down in broad daylight on a South Boston street to prevent him from talking about the killing in Oklahoma. Others were taken out for running afoul of Bulger's gambling enterprises.
"He left a trail of bodies," said Tom Duffy, a retired state police major in Massachusetts. "You did not double-cross him. If you did, you were dead."
At the same time he was boss of South Boston's murderous Winter Hill Gang, a mostly Irish mob, Bulger was an FBI informant, supplying information about the rival New England Mafia. But he fled in January 1995 when an agent tipped him off that he was about to be indicted.
That set off a major scandal at the FBI, which was found to have an overly cozy relationship with its underworld informants, protecting mob figures and allowing them to carry out their murderous business as long as they were supplying useful information.
A congressional committee, in a draft report issued in 2003, blasted the FBI for its use of Bulger and other criminals as informants, calling it "one of the greatest failures in the history of federal law enforcement."In a 2006 expose on "60 Minutes," Bulger's longtime henchman, Kevin Weeks -- who eventually turned against him -- described his boss as a violent, cold blooded killer.
Patricia Donahue, wife of alleged Bulger victim Michael Donahue, said she could not believe it when she heard the news.(At left, watch a 30-year-old video of Bulger released by the FBI in 2006)
"I actually never thought I would see this day. I thought the man was dead," she said. Her husband, a construction worker and truck driver, was killed in 1982 in a hit on an underworld figure who was cooperating with investigators. Donahue had given the target of the hit a ride home that day.
"I am very satisfied to know that the person pulled the trigger to end my husband's life is going to go to jail," said Donahue, 66.
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