Newly Released Files Show What FBI Knew About Mobster

Mobster had beaten an agency informant before being recruited, records detail
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2021 4:41 PM CDT
Released Files Show What FBI Knew About Whitey Bulger
James "Whitey" Bulger was killed in a federal prison at age 89.   (FBI via AP, File)

Government documents have been released that show the FBI knew what it was getting when it recruited Boston mobster Whitey Bulger as an informant in the 1970s. The 300 pages of records, some of which have to be held upside down to a mirror to be read, were posted in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Boston Herald. The FBI said more releases will follow, the Herald reports. The release shows a gangster who, in addition to being tied to at least 11 homicides, was involved in loan sharking, fixing horse races, and drug rackets. He also was an enforcer, the files indicate. Bulger's targets include an FBI informant the files say he "slapped around" before being recruited himself by the FBI. The agency had told the informant to withhold payments to gangs, then put a recorder on him.

In the racing scam, the records provide details about Bulger bribing jockeys and drugging horses at tracks in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Boston, and Las Vegas, per the Times Leader, to profit local bosses. Bulger left town in 1994 when his handler tipped him off that he was going to be indicted, per WCVB. He evaded arrest until 2011, when he was picked up in Santa Monica, California, where he was living with a woman and had stuffed the walls of his apartment with more than $800,000 in cash. Bulger was beaten to death in prison in West Virginia in 2018 when he was 89; his family has sued the federal prison system for $200 million over his death. (Read more Whitey Bulger stories.)

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