James “Whitey” Bulger, the infamous Boston mobster wanted for 19 murders and who inspired Jack Nicholson’s character in 2006’s Oscar-winning The Departed, was captured by the FBI in California on Wednesday after 16 years on the run.
Bulger, 81, who is on the F.B.I.’s Ten Most Wanted list, and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, were arrested without incident at a top-floor apartment in Santa Monica, Calif., where they had been living just blocks from the Pacific Ocean.
The arrest came from a tip after the FBI began airing new television spots this week seeking help in the case.
Bulger, who is set to appear in court on Thursday, faces charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, narcotics distribution, extortion and money laundering. Greig, 60, will be charged with harboring a fugitive.
A former F.B.I. informant, Bulger disappeared in 1995 when a retired F.B.I. agent told him of an imminent indictment. His nickname “Whitey” came from the color of his hair.
• With reporting by LORENZO BENET