FBI takes manhunt to cyberspace

By DAVID D. HASKELL  |  Dec. 11, 2002 at 2:18 PM
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BOSTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- The manhunt for one of the FBI's most wanted criminals is going cyber.

Officials announced Wednesday photos of fugitive Boston gang boss and accused serial killer James "Whitey" Bulger and the $1 million reward offered for his capture will be featured in pop-up wanted posters on the Internet.

"Bulger is a familiar face in the greater Boston area, but for the rest of the country and the rest of the world, he's not a familiar face and a household name," U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said at a news conference announcing the groundbreaking technological law enforcement initiative.

But that is about to change.

"This is going to provide opportunities for other people across the world to take a look at that photo and recognize it as someone they've seen," Sullivan said.

The World Wide Web is an "ideal way to reach many, many users," said FBI Special Agent Charles Prouty.

The FBI negotiated a deal with the Terra Lycos global Internet company to broadcast Bulger's picture on its network in 42 countries, reaching 118 million users per month.

The company has created a series of virtual wanted posters to be distributed in English across the Lycos network and in Spanish on Terra.com, which draws heavy Internet traffic from Latin America.

Officials said when users click on the photos, they will be directed to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Web site where they can leave tips. Terra Lycos is not charging the government for the ads, and said it is joining the effort for the greater good of society. Four different ads are planned, but details are still being worked out.

Bulger, 73, has been a fugitive since he fled a federal racketeering indictment in January 1995. He has been accused of murdering some 20 people while heading up the Winter Hill gang in South Boston.

He was placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list in 1999.

The FBI said the Bulger Task Force has received hundreds of tips regarding the elusive crime boss, who has been spotted with his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, in New York, California, Louisiana and Mississippi. He is also known to have traveled extensively in Europe, Canada and Mexico.

The Task Force hopes the Internet posting will generate information that will bring about his long-awaited capture.

(For more information see the Website, fbi.com)

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