High security as Bulger lands in Boston
Published 25/06/2011 | 05:00
THE return to Boston of fugitive Irish-American gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger after 16 years on the run was met with high security at a courthouse that had not even been built when he fled the city.
Bulger (81) arrived at the tightly guarded federal courthouse in Boston last night to answer charges that he committed 19 murders. His girlfriend, who was arrested with him on Wednesday in California, was scheduled to appear in court on charges of harbouring a fugitive.
He had appeared briefly in federal court on Thursday in Los Angeles, agreeing to waive extradition, and was released from downtown's federal Metropolitan Detention Centre into the custody of US marshals early yesterday.
In Boston, the courthouse security included at least two Coast Guard boats, one state police vessel and a police boat patrolling the harbour directly behind the building.
Bulger's arrest ended a long, frustrating manhunt that had embarrassed the FBI and raised questions about its efforts to find one of its most wanted fugitives.
But his capture could become a new chapter in an old scandal for the Boston FBI and others.
If Bulger decides to cut a deal with prosecutors, he could implicate an untold number of law-enforcement officials, according to investigators who built a racketeering indictment against him before he fled in 1995.
"If he starts to talk, there will be some unwelcome accountability on the part of a lot of people inside law enforcement," said retired Massachusetts state police major Tom Duffy.
Bulger is charged in connection with 19 murders. He had lived in Santa Monica, California, for 15 of the last 16 years, according to his landlord.
Bulger's flight in early 1995 allegedly came after a tip-off from former Boston FBI Agent John Connolly Jr, who was convicted of racketeering and obstruction of justice in 2002 for protecting Bulger from prosecution.