FBI files on murdered Boston mob boss 'Whitey' Bulger declassified

FBI made public 300 pages of documents on investigations dating back to 1970s

The FBI recently made public 300 pages of documents dating back to the 1970s that detail investigations into reputed Boston mob boss and serial killer James "Whitey" Bulger. 

The pages posted to the FBI’s "Vault" online library this weekend – though heavily redacted – provide some detail into FBI investigations into loan-sharking, horse-fixing and drug rackets around Boston in the 1970s, as the New England Organized Crime Strike Force targeted gangs and the mafia. 

The documents detail investigative methods used by the FBI, including monitoring phone conversations, WCVB reported. The FBI had also instructed an informant to leave debts unpaid to Bulger’s mostly Irish mob, and Bulger "slapped around" that informant, who FBI investigators said was "in constant fear of his life" and agreed to wear a recording device and testify in court, the Boston Herald reported. 

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Bulger, the ruthless leader who was at the helm of the South Boston-based Winter Hill Gang, was convicted in 2013 for his involvement in a slew of crimes, including 11 murders. Still, no one has been charged in connection to Bulger’s death on Oct. 30, 2018, at a federal prison in West Virginia. 

An 89-year-old, wheelchair-bound Bulger was fatally beaten – and his eyes gouged out – less than 12 hours after arriving to the US Penitentiary Hazelton. Three inmates allegedly involved have been held in 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement since, but there have been no formal indictments, the Boston Globe reported. 

The newly released records shed light on what information FBI top brass had on Bulger before he too was recruited as an informant by John "Zip" Connolly, a rising star at the bureau who years later would be convicted of racketeering, obstruction of justice and murder charges linked to his relationship with the mobster, according to the Herald. 

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Connolly was the one to tip Bulger off in 1994 that federal authorities were close to indicting him, allowing the mob boss to flee Boston. Bulger remained on America’s Most Wanted list for over a decade until he was arrested 16 years later in Santa Monica, California. He had been hiding out with his long-term girlfriend, Catherine Greig, and living off of over $800,000 in cash stored in their apartment walls.