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 Tuesday, 7 January, 2003, 11:20 GMT
$1m bounty for US fugitive
One of America's most wanted men is believed to be in hiding somewhere in the British Isles and the FBI is offering a $1m bounty for his capture.

It is thought James "Whitey" Bulger, who is wanted for 18 murders in his native Boston, may have been given shelter by Irish republicans.

In the 1980s Bulger, the head of the so-called Winter Hill Gang, allegedly helped smuggle a cache of weapons from the US to the IRA.

Bulger, 73, went on the run in 1995 after being tipped off about an impending raid by John Connolly Jr, an FBI agent who was on his payroll.

He is thought to be travelling with his lover, Catherine Greig, a dental hygienist who was indicted in her absence in 1997 accused of harbouring a fugitive.

Catherine Greig is believed to be travelling with Bulger
In September he was spotted in London, near Piccadilly Circus, by a former friend who bumped into him by chance.

He looked tanned and sported a goatee beard but pretended he did not know the man and walked off.

Since then he has vanished once again and may have crossed the Irish Sea again.

Bulger has a violent temper and is said to carry a knife at all times.

The FBI has approached the Irish broadcaster RTE about the possibility of making appeal on their Crimeline programme.

There are also plans to put up posters in London, Belfast, Dublin and other cities where Bulger could be harboured.

Bulger's description
Around 5' 8" tall
Weighs around 11 stone
White hair, blue eyes
Pronounced Boston accent
Animal lover
Known to frequent libraries and historic sites
Suffers from angina and takes Atenolol medication

Bulger, who is on the FBI's list of Ten Most Wanted People, is suspected of 18 murders, drug trafficking, extortion and money laundering.

In the 1980s and early 1990s he was a prized informant for the FBI in Boston and gave much information about rival criminals but it has since transpired that his own gang was responsible for a reign of terror.

A mass grave of some of the Winter Hill Gang's victims was found recently just outside Boston.

On 5 January 1995 Connolly, his former FBI handler, warned him of a looming racketeering and extortion indictment and he fled Boston.

Richard Milano, whose brother Michael was one of those murdered by the Winter Hill Gang in 1973, said: "I want him caught so bad and for justice to prevail. I just don't think that he'll be caught alive.

'He eludes all the nets'

Milano, whose family is suing Bulger's estate, told the American news agency AP: "He seems to be able to elude all the nets put out there. He planned long in advance for this."

Bulger travelled widely in the months before he disappeared and it is thought he may have been setting up secret cash stashes to keep him going while on the run.

Two safety deposit boxes, in London and Dublin, were traced and opened in September 2002.

They contained $60,000 in various currencies, an Irish passport in Bulger's name and a brochure called The World's Top Retirement Havens.

'Armed and dangerous'

The FBI plans to flood Britain, Ireland, France and Switzerland with posters showing what Bulger might look like today and advertising the $1m bounty on his head.

A spokesman for New Scotland Yard's Extradition and International Assistance Unit told BBC News Online: "He is considered dangerous and may or may not be armed, so members of the public should not approach him.

"They should simply contact their local police if they believe they know where he is."

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