FBI agent details capture of Bulger after 16 years on run

Whitey Bulger
James “Whitey” Bulger managed to live as a fugitive for 16 years.

When FBI agents finally caught up to James “Whitey” Bulger after 16 years and moved in to arrest him, he refused their commands to get on his knees because there was grease on the ground. 

FBI Special Agent Scott Garriola testified Friday in the trial of the alleged mob boss. He was the agent who led the 2011 arrest of Bulger in Santa Monica and testified Friday about the details of that arrest.

Bulger was found after a former neighbor saw a report of a renewed effort by the FBI to locate him and his longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig. The tip led agents to the Santa Monica apartment where they questioned the property manager who lived in the apartment next door.

They eventually came up with a ruse to get him outside: They told him his storage locker in the garage was broken into, and they were going to call the police. When Bugler came down to investigate, the agents moved in.

“We went over to him, told him to get his hands up. We asked him to get down on knees on the ground,” Garriola said. “He swore at us a few times, told us he wasn’t going to get down on the ground, that there was grease on the floor.”

After Bulger was finally put in handcuffs, Garriola said he asked him his name. Bulger denied being Whitey Bulger at first, but then when Garriola said that they would get Greig to identify him, Bulger said, “You know who I am. I’m Whitey Bulger.”

When agents got Bulger and Greig to consent to a search of the apartment, Garriola said he had Bulger sign a consent form.

“He said, ‘This is the first time I’ve signed this name in a long time,’” Garriola said. “He signed it James J. Bulger.”

Garriola also detailed the search of the apartment and said agents found about $822,000 in cash and 30 guns. Some were in plain view, others were hidden in cutouts in the walls behind various mirrors.

Garriola is expected to be the final government witness before prosecutors rests its case.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


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