Former mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, captured near his coastal California hideout after 16 years on the run, was ordered held without bond Thursday for transfer back to Boston to face charges of murder, extortion and conspiracy.
Bulger, 81, one of America's most wanted fugitives, was lured from his Santa Monica, California, apartment just blocks from the Pacific Wednesday evening by federal agents and police acting on a tip from the public.
The man who inspired the gangster character played by Jack Nicholson in the 2006 film "The Departed" put up no resistance when he and his longtime companion, Catherine Greig, 60, were arrested, federal officials said at a Boston news conference. Greig had been with him in hiding since 1995.
An employee for the company that manages the apartment building, Joshua Bond, told Reuters the couple had lived there for 15 years and went by the names Charles and Carol Gasko. Neighbors said had frequently seen pair out walking together.
The pair appeared Thursday afternoon before a U.S. magistrate judge in Los Angeles, who ordered both of them to remain in federal custody without bail.
Handcuffed but looking calm and fit, Bulger gave short answers to procedural questions posed by the judge. He was mostly bald and wore a neatly trimmed white beard and wire-rimmed glasses.
He smiled and chuckled to himself while staring at reporters in the courtroom before the proceedings began.
When the judge asked if he had read the indictment against him, Bulger held up a sheaf of white papers and replied, "I got 'em all right here. It will take me quite a while to finish these." He said "thank you" to the judge at the end.
Greig, with close-cropped white hair, appeared frailer and older than Bulger. She scowled through much of her hearing.
Bulger and Greig waived rights to challenge their removal from California to Boston. The judge said both would be "sent forthwith" back to Massachusetts.
Steven Martinez, assistant director of the FBI Los Angeles office, later said the pair were spending the night locked up in Los Angeles, and that U.S. marshals would escort them across the country as early as Friday.
Bulger, a onetime underworld informant and former leader of the Irish-American criminal group the Winter Hill Gang, was wanted on 19 counts of murder committed in the 1970s and 1980s, and on charges of drug dealing, extortion, money laundering and conspiracy.
Greig was charged in 1997 with harboring a fugitive.
Boston U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said Bulger faced life in prison if convicted.
Bulger fled Boston in late 1994 and was joined by Greig a few months later. Before their arrest, the last credible sighting of the pair was in London in 2002. Bulger was thought to have traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, Canada and Latin America after slipping away.
His story inspired Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning film "The Departed" about double-dealing gangsters and corrupt cops in Boston.
Inside Bulger's Santa Monica hideout, agents said they found $800,000, more than 30 firearms, knives and pieces of false identification. They declined to give details of the ploy that led to Bulger leaving his apartment.
A new series of televised public service announcements aimed at female viewers who might have seen Greig was launched just Tuesday, airing in 14 cities during daytime TV programs -- though not in Los Angeles. The FBI also placed billboards in New York's Times Square and elsewhere.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers said the media campaign paid off with an anonymous tip that directly led the critical break in the case.
Agents from the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department staked out the three-story apartment building Wednesday afternoon before making the arrests.
Bulger is the older brother of William "Billy" Bulger, a former president of the Massachusetts State Senate. William Bulger had no comment about his brother's arrest.
He was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1999, and a $2 million reward was offered for information leading to Bulger's arrest. The FBI doubled the reward offered for Greig's whereabouts this week, to $100,000.
Bulger, said to be an avid reader and history buff who likes to take long walks on beaches, has been featured on the television show "America's Most Wanted" more than a dozen times from 1995 to 2010. (Additional reporting by Lauren Keiper in Boston, Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington and R.T. Watson and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Steve Gorman and Eric Walsh)
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