US Marshals Defend Bulger’s Helicopter Ride To Court

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.

  • sean

    where is the follow up story to tell us why this was necessary as well as why a police motorcade is necessary which i am sure is overtime for the police.

    • tsal

      Nice way to look at it, Sean? Or perhaps it could be that the motorcade is necessary to keep those who want Bulger to be freed from actually freeing him. And to also protect any of the correction officers transporting him from being caught in the crossfire.

      As far as an explanation for the helicopter, I suspect that those in charge have more knowledge by far than we do – not only with regard to Bulger but with regard to how the correction/jail system works in Massachusetts. Maybe it would be a good idea to let them do their job.

  • sean

    Their job isn’t to waste taxpayer money on something like a helicopter ride for Whitey. There is no reason he couldn’t have had a police motorcade from Plymouth to Boston as he has already done. That would have cost a lot less.

    • Cynic

      Yeah Sean… just let them do thier job.
      If they want to rip us off for a couple of thousans for a Motorcade,So what?
      Obviously you had never had to struggle to feed a family on a measley 150 to 200K a year in pay, details and overtime.

    • tsal

      Do you know there is no reason sean or are you guessing?

  • Terry

    I guess the state has excess funds to pay the bill. Who made this decision?

  • ghwatcher

    Who made this decision and why was this made. Where is the money coming from? Why do they even need to transport him at all? The technology is in place for a defendant to view the proceedings via video monitor/skype.

    • tsal

      I think you have the right in this country to face your accuser – not sure that would be virtually.

  • gh

    Why are we paying for this, who made this decision to transport him via helecopter? I find this an unnecessary waist of taxpayers dollars. Why not have the defendant view the proceedings via video monitor or skype from the Plymouth House of Corrections. His rights would not be denied using this technology.

  • Cynic

    Reality says the Helicopter ride Motorcade and everything else is part of the Trial.
    The Prosecution is saying to every potentrial Juror “Convict Him”.
    There is no doubt he will and should be convicted but every potential Juror should be aware of the process of manipulation not so much for this case but certainly for the time they may be called to judge the person that is in fact innocent.

  • tsal

    Good old Scott Brown. So far when he’s shot his mouth off BEFORE knowing the facts he’s batting 100 at being wrong. He does love the camera and loves to ride in on his white horse. Recall his attacking the police officer who shot Henry in NY stating the driver did nothing wrong. That of course was BEFORE he discovered the driver was drunk. And recall his assuring the citizens of Scituate he would not permit the waves/ocean to attack their shore and homes after the bad storm last winter. That was my favorite. You have to be quite a super hero to challenge the ocean.

    Although I would prefer not to spend a cent on Bulger I am not pompous enough to tell the marshalls how to do their job which not only protects Bulger (and I could care less if something happens to him) but also protects anyone in the vicinity of where he is if there should be a threat.

    I also seriously doubt traffic is a problem since the motorcade has been traveling with sirens on and passing all other cars.

  • John S

    I’m glad to see Sen. Brown has some sense of right and wrong. It makes a sad statement for the federal government when they threaten to cut social security but will spend money for a waste of human flesh to be transported to court in luxury.

  • Delia

    I am sickened that he is being treated like a rock star…….he should be treated like any other prisioner …and he can wear a bullet proof vest like the other prisoners if they are fearful of his life…..That is our taxpayers dollars….it is not bad enough that he has a court appointed lawyer with all the alleged stashed lottery and cash in walls

    • Cynic

      A Court Appointed Attorney certainly but not one from the Public Defender program thats for sure.

  • Middle Class Zero

    Seriously? The Dude should have walked here.

  • CliffM

    What would have happened if the Coast Guard received a mayday call requiring a helo evac? The Coast Guard also provides emergency medical transport if there is no available LifeFlite helo available,especially if the pickup is on Nantucket or the Vineyard.
    There would have been a lot of spin doctoring if that had happened.

    • tsal

      And what would have happened if there were an attempt to free Bulger and several guards or innocent civilians were killed in the attempt? You can play the What If game all day long and at the end of the game you still have no idea why the marshalls decided to do what they did.

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  • emom

    Helicopter ride,, well, he is a celebrity, plus since he is a super criminal, I am willing to bet there are some that are out to get him. I bet he has ticked off plenty of old acquaintances. So by taking a ride high above the ground it assures he gets to his destination. But we as taxpayers WILL have to foot the bill.. Where do you think it comes from for all these court cases .

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