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FBI, Mass. State Police Join Forces in Hunt for Fugitive

BOSTON (AP) - The FBI and the Massachusetts State Police have joined forces in the worldwide manhunt for fugitive gangster James "Whitey" Bulger, who has been on the run for nine years after fleeing a federal racketeering and extortion indictment.

Massachusetts State Police Col. Thomas Robbins told The Boston Globe on Wednesday that he has assigned three troopers to work with the FBI-led multiagency fugitive squad that has been hunting Bulger. A spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said that agency also is considering assigning an agent to the task force.

Robbins, who took over as head of the State Police in June, said it is time to rebuild relationships with the FBI on the Bulger case.

U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan said the consolidation will "reduce the possibility of duplication when you're talking about limited resources generally."

The consolidated task force also includes representatives from the Boston Police Department - Bulger is a former resident of the city's South Boston neighborhood - and the Massachusetts Department of Correction.

In the past, separate fugitive squads sometimes have interviewed the same witnesses, or been in two different parts of the world at the same time, according to law enforcement officials.

Ken Kaiser said when he was named special agent-in-charge of the Boston's FBI office last year that his mandate for the director of the FBI was to catch Bulger. Kaiser said that as long as Bulger remains free, the FBI's Boston office will be plagued by speculation that it doesn't really want to catch him.

Bulger's longtime handler, former FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr., was convicted of racketeering ad sentenced to 10 years in prison for warning Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi to flee in advance of their 1995 indictment. Flemmi was captured and is serving life in prison, but Bulger, who turned 75 last week, remains a fugitive on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list, with a $1 million reward for information leading to his capture.

A second indictment charges Bulger and Flemmi with killing 19 people between them.

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