Retired FBI agent recalls James ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s capture, return to Boston

BOSTON — Retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent Rich Teahan, as head of the Bulger Fugitive Task Force, spent years looking for South Boston mob boss James ‘Whitey’ Bulger.

Ten years after Bulger’s capture, Teahan remembers the moment he was told the former FBI Top 10 Fugitive was finally in custody.

”I know it sounds corny. I just jumped in the air. Finally we got this guy and we did it our own way,” Tehan told me in a rare interview.

Rich Teahan joined the Bulger Fugitive Task Force in 2006.

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In 2011, he and his team hatched a plan to create a TV public service announcement targeting not Bulger, but his fugitive girlfriend, Catherine Grieg.

The spot ran in media markets around the country.

When CNN produced a news story about the PSA, everything changed.

A tip came in from Santa Monica, California, setting in motion Bulger’s dramatic capture.

”The tip basically said, ‘The people living at the Princess Eugenia Apartments, in Unit 303, Charlie and Carol Gasko, are actually Jim Bulger and Catherine Greig,” Teahan recalls.

FBI agents in Los Angeles created a ruse and captured both Bulger and Greig.

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The next day, Special Agent Teahan walked into Bulger’s Santa Monica apartment, and saw for himself the spot where Bulger stored 30 weapons, box of ammunition, and $822,000 cash.

It turns out the cash was a problem for Bulger.

It dated back to 1995 and Bulger knew spending that money in Los Angeles might get him caught. So, Bulger did something about it.

”We found evidence that he would travel to Nevada, to the casinos. He would take those old hundred dollar bills and ‘wash’ them into new money. He had an envelope in the apartment, and it was entitled, ‘new money,’” Teahan told me.

Rich Teahan was one of two FBI Agents who conducted an epic six hour long debrief of Whitey Bulger on a private government jet, as the helped return Bulger to Boston.

Bulger spoke for nearly six hours, never taking a bathroom break, or drinking a bottle of water.

But Teahan tells me, there was one thing Bulger refused to discuss: the location of the rest of his criminal fortune, estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.

”I’m firmly convinced he had money elsewhere. Either in the West, or in the Mid West. Clearly he had money in Europe, too,” Teahan said.

Whitey Bulger was murdered in a federal prison in 2018.

No one has been arrested for his murder.