BOSTON (CBS) – The US Marshals service is defending its decision to fly Whitey Bulger in a Coast Guard helicopter to federal court Thursday.
Originally, the Coast Guard estimated the flight cost $13,880 including fuel, maintenance, wear and tear, and wages.
The Marshals service was quick to dispute that number, saying it cost $1500, which covered the cost of fuel.
On Friday, both agencies issued a joint statement seeking to clarify the situation.
It said the helicopter “was scheduled to fly a law enforcement mission on the day in question – whether or not it participated in the prisoner transfer – and the costs expended on June 30 were no different whether or not the Coast Guard assisted the Marshals Service.”
The FBI asked the U.S. Coast Guard to provide the transportation, so a Jayhawk MH-60 helicopter picked up Bulger and his handlers at the Plymouth Airport and dropped them off at Logan Airport where they got into a police motorcade.
WBZ-TV’s Peg Rusconi reports
Regardless of cost, the helicopter ride, Bulger’s elaborate police escorts, and the private jet ride back to Boston have caught the attention of taxpayers and Senator Scott Brown.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Laurie Kirby reports
Senator Scott Brown sent a letter mentioning the private jet, the police escorts, and the chopper ride; and called for the U.S. Marshals to find a less costly way to move Bulger.
Full Text: Sen Brown’s Letter To US Marshals Service
“Speaking on behalf of the people of Massachusetts, who, like myself, have sat in traffic on Route 3 coming to and from Boston, I too have imagined about how nice it would be to have a helicopter get me where I needed to go. I agreed with U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz when she said Whitey Bulger would be ‘treated like every other defendant.’ So far, that does not seem to be the case,” his letter stated.