THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

US Marshals Service joins international hunt for Bulger

By Shelley Murphy
Globe Staff / October 8, 2010

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For the first time since South Boston crime boss James “Whitey’’ Bulger fled 15 years ago, the US Marshals Service has joined the international manhunt.

The agency, perhaps best known for tracking fugitives, recently assigned a deputy US marshal to work full time on the Bulger Task Force, an FBI-led team of State Police investigators, FBI agents, and state Department of Correction officers that has been searching full time for the 81-year-old gangster.

US Marshal John Gibbons said in a statement yesterday that the agency “has a long-standing reputation as being expert fugitive investigators, and we look forward to providing the FBI with our assistance in this matter. It is our hope that this joint initiative will ultimately lead to the arrest of Bulger so he can face justice.’’

FBI agent Gregory Comcowich, a spokesman for the FBI’s Boston office, said marshals have exceptional expertise in hunting fugitives and “they will bring local, state, and international contacts that we hope will assist us in catching Bulger.’’

Bulger, one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted, fled just before his January 1995 federal racketeering indictment in Boston and was later charged with 19 murders in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a longtime FBI informant, and the bureau has said his capture remains a top priority. The FBI is offering a $2 million reward for information leading to his arrest.

The last confirmed sighting of the aging fugitive was in London in 2002.

He is believed to be traveling with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, 59, a certified dental hygienist.

In the last year, the FBI has launched creative initiatives in an effort to capture Bulger, including posting an ad in Plastic Surgery News in May, asking plastic surgeons worldwide to be on the lookout for Greig.

According to the bureau, Greig had breast implants, a face lift, liposuction, and eyelid surgery before she went on the run with Bulger, creating speculation that she might look for additional surgery.

Shelley Murphy can be reached at shmurphy@globe.com.

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