Bulger gets pricey ride to Boston courthouse

Posted July 01, 2011, at 8:42 p.m.

BOSTON — The U.S. Marshals Service is disputing an estimate that it cost taxpayers almost $14,000 to transport James “Whitey” Bulger to court by helicopter.

The former reputed crime boss was flown to Boston aboard a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter Thursday for a pair of hearings in U.S. District Court. A Coast Guard petty officer said then the flight from the Plymouth jail where Bulger is being held cost about $13,800.

On two previous occasions since his arrest in California last week, Bulger was driven the approximately 40 miles to Boston from the jail.

In a statement Friday, the Marshals Service said the helicopter transport by a law enforcement component of the Coast Guard cost $1,500.

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The Marshals Service said that when moving federal prisoners, it regularly varies routes based on threat levels, traffic patterns and other considerations.

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