FBI closing in on Irish mob boss Bolger
THE FBI says it is closing in on an Irish American gangster with ties to Dublin.
James "Whitey" Bulger has been on the run for 16 years and is the most wanted man in America.
Bulger (81) has been on the FBI's Most Wanted List since 1999 and carries a €1.5m bounty on his head.
The mobster is wanted on 19 counts of murder, as well as racketeering, money laundering and drug dealing in the Boston area.
Bulger has Irish links and a bank account he set up in a Dublin bank was uncovered by detectives. He is thought to be travelling with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig (59) who has had "extensive" plastic surgery.
Greig is also wanted by the police for harbouring Bulger when he went on the run in 1995, having being indicted for murder in Boston.
FBI agent Richard Teahan, head of the Bulger Task Force, told the Boston Globe this week that agents received "50 to 100" leads after they placed ads last spring in plastic surgery publications with photos of Bulger and Greig, asking anyone who treated the couple to call the FBI.
"A lot of leads and tips have come in both domestically and internationally," Teahan said.
The last confirmed sighting of Bulger was in London in 2002 and some believe he has spent time in Ireland during his time on the run.
Teahan said the FBI firmly believes that Bulger is still alive and the manhunt is continuing worldwide.
"We are committed to this case," he said. "We just think it's important not to give up and to keep pushing.
"Worldwide exposure is what will cause him to be apprehended."
A former Bulger associate, Kevin J Weekes, also told the newspaper he believes Bulger is living quietly in Europe.
Bulger is said to be the inspiration for the Jack Nicholson character in the Academy Award-winning movie The Departed.
He is listed along with Osama bin Laden on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list.
The FBI said Bulger has a violent temper and is known to carry a knife at all times.
Bulger has an interest in history and he and Grieg love animals and he has travelled extensively through the US, Canada, Europe and Mexico.