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Whitey Bulger jailhouse love letters revealed as he's moved to Arizona

Whitey BulgerThe Boston GlobeSundance Film Festival

Former South Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger was transferred to a high-security federal penitentiary in Arizona as the Boston Globe revealed an emotional exchange of prison love letters between Bulger and the woman with whom he lived in hiding for years.

Bulger, 84, is at USP Tucson, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website. The facility holds 1,700 male inmates -- 1,552 in a high-security lockup and 148 in an adjacent minimum-security satellite camp, the bureau's website says.

After 16 years on the run, Bulger was captured in June 2011 in Santa Monica, where he was hiding with his longtime love, Catherine Greig, a former dental hygienist. In November, he was sentenced to two life terms plus five years for participating in or orchestrating 11 murders.

"The Federal Bureau of Prisons utilizes a classification system to place offenders in the most appropriate security level institution that also meets their program needs and is consistent with the Bureau's mission to protect society," John Stahley, a prison spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times in an email statement.

The convicted gangster was held at the Plymouth County House of Correction after his capture. Before transferring to the Tucson prison, Bulger was at the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City, Stahley said.

According to the Boston Globe, Bulger and Greig exchanged jailhouse love letters on a legal pad ferried between prisons by defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr.

Carney told the Globe he watched the former fugitives, detained at separate facilities, sob as they read each other's words.

"To me there is no regulation or law that should prevent people from expressing love," Carney said.

Hank Brennan, one of Bulger's lawyers, told reporters outside the courtroom after the November verdict that the convict planned to appeal his conviction.

"There are a number of important issues that he still thinks need to be told. There's evidence and witnesses that he thinks should be made public," Brennan said.

A documentary on the Bulger case, "Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger," by filmmaker Joe Berlinger, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 18.

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Twitter: @saba_h

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Whitey BulgerThe Boston GlobeSundance Film Festival
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