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James "Whitey" Bulger



James "Whitey" Bulger


On FBI Most Wanted List for 16 Years:

James "Whitey" Bulger was wanted by the FBI for racketeering influenced and corrupt organizations (RICO) charges including murder (19 counts), conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit extortion, narcotics distribution, conspiracy to commit money laundering; extortion; and money laundering.

He was arrested on June 23, 2011 in Santa Monica, California without incident.

Profile of James Whitey Bulger:

James "Whitey" Bulger was born in 1929 in Boston, MA, and spent most of his youth growing up in a housing project in South Boston. He was the older of two boys born to James and Jean Bulger and while his younger brother James, Jr., took to academics, James got most of his education on the tough streets of South Boston.

Bulger started his long career with crime after joining a street gang called "The Shamrocks" and he was arrested for the first time at the age of 14 for larceny. His trouble with the law continued and in 1948 he was sent to a juvenile detention center from 1943 until 1948.

Military Career

After Bulger's release from the detention center he joined the Air Force, but his trouble with authority and following the law continued. He managed to receive an honorable discharge in 1953 despite having had many disciplinary problems in the Air Force.

Back on the Streets

He returned to Boston and started where he left off in 1943 with his criminal activities including robbing banks in Rhode Island and Indiana. In March 1956, after being on the run for three months, Bulger was arrested, tried and sentenced to 25 years in prison for hijacking a truck and armed robbery.

Bulger spent nine years in various prisons, including Alcatraz, Leavenworth and Lewisburg before his release in 1965. His sentence was reduced after he volunteered to undergo drugs experimentation, including the hallucinogenic LSD.

Gang Wars

Back in Boston, Bulger hooked up with Donald Killeen who was the boss of one of the most powerful crime families in South Boston. Two other powerful gangs included the Winter Hill Gang led by Howie Winter and the Mullen Gang, led by Patrick Nee. A gang war erupted which led to a string of shootings around Boston and ended after Donald Killeen was shot to death in front of his home. Some believe it was Bulger who set Killen up; others dispute this and say the murder was done by two enforcers working for the Mullen Gang.

The crime bosses decided it was time to end the wars between the gangs and set up a meeting where it was decided that the remainder of the Killeen Gang would be absorbed by the Winter Hill Gang with Howie Winter as the boss.

Soon after the merger Bulger became Howie Winter's right-hand man. It is said that he was instrumental in the Winter Gang taking over much of the competing gang activity in North Boston.

FBI Informant

In 1979, Howie Winter and some of his close associates were arrested for fixing horse races. Bulger and Stephen Joseph "The Rifleman" Flemmi avoided arrest by becoming informants for the FBI. With Winter out of the picture Bulger became the boss of the Winter Hill Gang and used his position as an informant to thin out his competition.

His plan worked and by 1988 Bulger was the in control of most all of the extortion, loan sharking, bookmaking and hijacking that went on throughout the north east as well as being the main source for the distribution of cocaine and marijuana in Massachusetts.

Bulger avoided arrest for several years because of a combination of corruption within the Boston Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation along with his own cautious methods, to the point of paranoia, which he utilized to avoid being connected to his criminal activities.

The Tip

In April 1994, a Federal case was being built against Bulger and his gambling operations. The following December Bulger received a tip from FBI agent John Connolly that the FBI was about to make an arrest. Bulger, along with his girlfriend Theresa Stanley fled Boston on December 23, 1994 and remained on the run until June 23, 2011.

Connolly was later convicted for protecting Bulger and his sidekick, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi.


Throughout his lifetime Bulger has been known to use several aliases including: Thomas F. Baxter, Mark Shapeton, Jimmy Bulger, James Joseph Bulger, James J. Bulger, Jr., James Joseph Bulger, Jr., Tom Harris, Tom Marshall, "Whitey". The last one, "Whitey" was a nickname given to him because of his full white/silver hair. Through the years most people, including the media, referred to him as Whitey rather than by his legal name.

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