The tip that led to a stunning break in the 16-year-long international manhunt for fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger came from Iceland, a law enforcement official said according to a number of sources.
The tip came from a woman who was living in Iceland but had previously crossed paths with Bulger and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, in Santa Monica, where the couple was arrested last Wednesday.
The tipster was watching CNN in Iceland when she spotted a story about a new FBI TV ad campaign focusing on Greig. The FBI had announced the campaign on Monday, saying it was trying a new tack in its long-thwarted hunt for Bulger. The woman then called authorities.
An FBI spokesman said, “The identity of the tipster and where the tipster is from is not something we are going to get into.”
FBI officials have said the tip came in Tuesday to the FBI’s Los Angeles office. It was then reviewed by Bulger experts in Boston and deemed to be credible. Authorities began surveillance of Bulger and Greig’s apartment on Wednesday, arresting them late Wednesday afternoon, Pacific time.
The couple had been living a quiet life in a modest apartment building just a few blocks from the beach.
Bulger, 81, went before a federal judge today in Boston on a bail hearing after being caught in Santa Monica, California by federal investigators living with his long-time girlfriend Catherine Greig, 60, on a tip from an Icelandic woman who lives part-time in Santa Monica, according to WCVB TV.
WBUR radio reported Friday that the tip that led the FBI to Bulger came from someone in Iceland who used to live in the same apartment building.