by Radar Staff
UPDATE: Bulger is now in flight to Boston.
One of the world’s most dangerous men — James “Whitey” Bulger — and his companion Catherine Greig are expected to be extradited back to Boston Friday to face charges there after 16-years on the lam.
Bulger — who shot up to number one on the FBI’s Most Wanted List after the death of Osama bin Laden — was arrested Wednesday in Santa Monica, California after eluding authorities since 1994.
Once back in Boston, he will face charges in connection with 19 murders in Massachusetts, as well as slayings in Oklahoma and Florida.
On Thursday, Bulger, 81, — sporting a thick white beard and wearing blue jeans and a white shirt — appeared in Federal Court in Los Angeles.
During his brief appearance in court, Bulger confirmed that he was in fact James J. Bulger and said he would not fight a return to Massachusetts, then laughed at other detainees as he left the courtroom. Some people have said Bugler appears to be in the early stages of dementia.
The FBI said Bulger lived in a quiet, three-story Santa Monica apartment near the beach for 15 years, apparently settling there not long after bolting Boston in 1994 after he was tipped by his FBI handler, John Connolly, that he was about to be indicted for 19 murders.
Inside the Santa Monica apartment — which Bulger and Greig rented under the aliases Charles and Carole Gasko — agents found 60 weapons, some hidden in hollowed-out history books, knives and ammunition, and more than $800,000 in cash, some of it stashed in the walls.
Agents ended up arresting Bulger after luring him outside his apartment by telling him that it appeared his storage locker had been broken into.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston said Bulger could be returned to Massachusetts as early as Friday, possibly having a court appearance in the city Friday afternoon. Along with facing the murder charges, he was also wanted in connection with conspiracy, narcotics distribution, extortion and money laundering charges.
Following his arrest, Bulger’s brother William, the once-powerful president of the Massachusetts Senate and a force in state politics for years, finally broke his silence about his brother saying: “I wish to express my sympathy to all the families hurt by the calamitous circumstances of this case. As the judicial process takes its course, I shall make no further comment at this time. Along with everyone else involved, I look forward to a resolution of this matter.”
Meanwhile, Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch said he hoped Bulger’s arrest would bring closure to the families of victims in his South Boston district. He also indicated that a federal investigation would be in order.
“There may also be an opportunity to gain additional information regarding the FBI’s involvement in these crimes. It remains the responsibility of the Justice Department to see that a full investigation is completed,” Lynch said.
It’s likely that the FBI will charter a private jet to return Bugler to Boston, rather than accompany him on a commercial flight.
Bulger’s real life story inspired aspects of Jack Nicholson‘s character in the Oscar-winning 2006 film The Departed.