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Who is the FBI's agent in charge of Boston marathon case? Meet Richard DesLauriers

Elise Amendola / AP

FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers, far right, speaks as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, left, and Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick, center, listen during a news conference in Boston on Tuesday, April 16 regarding two bombs which exploded in the street near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least three people.

Authorities have yet to name any suspects in the pair of bombings that killed three people and injured more than 170 at the finish line of Monday's Boston Marathon. But having Richard DesLauriers, special agent-in-charge of the FBI's Boston field office, at the helm means whoever is behind the attack is up against someone with decades of experience in espionage, violent crime, and other security issues.

On Tuesday, DesLauriers vowed at a news conference, "We will go to the ends of the earth to find the suspects responsible for this despicable crime."

Leading the Boston Marathon bombing investigation may be one of the most tragic cases that DesLauriers' has handled. But the 26-year FBI veteran is no stranger to manhunts; not long ago he helped apprehend long-wanted gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.

DesLauriers has been with the FBI since 1987; his first assignment was working on cases related to violent crime and fugitives in the bureau's Birmingham, Ala., division. Before joining the FBI, he graduated magna cum laude from Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., in 1982, and got his law degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., 1986. He's a Massachusetts native. 

Current FBI agents declined to comment about DesLauriers. But retired special agent Rick Hahn said DesLauriers must have proven himself exceptionally capable to have achieved his position in Boston.

"Boston is considered to be a preferred assignment," he said. "There's a lot of dynamics there in Boston that don't exist in places like Little Rock, Arkansas, example. A lot of government contracts, a lot of espionage, as well as their fair share of bread-and-butter type criminal activity."

DesLauriers spent 1990 to 1995 in the FBI's New York division working on counterintelligence matters, and then was promoted to supervisory special agent within the Eurasian Section of the National Security Branch at FBI Headquarters in Washington. Throughout the years, he advanced in the ranks and relocated to Boston. His title, "special agent," actually limits him in his abilities as a law enforcement officer, explained Hahn.

"It's a legal term," Hahn said. "A special agent means that you're only allowed to do certain things that are specifically outlined in your contract. The credentials of an FBI agent say that you're allowed to investigate crimes under federal statutes, you're able to collect evidence, preserve evidence, make arrests in federal cases. Those are the only things you can do. We can't collect taxes. There are other things that fall far outside our purview."

The special-agent-in-charge, of course, is a senior officer that can deploy staff to do just about anything he can't do himself.

In addition to closing the Bulger case in June 2011, when Top Ten Fugitive Whitey Bulger and his companion Catherine Greig were arrested in Santa Monica, Calif. -- 16 years after the search for the gangster-turned-FBI informant began -- DesLauriers's other high-profile assignment has been working the infamous 1990 art heist at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in which two thieves posed as Boston police officers. While the $500 million theft happened before DesLauriers worked in the Boston office, the masterpieces -- which included work by Rembrandt and Degas -- still have yet to be recovered.

"We are totally focused right now on recovering the paintings and returning them to the Gardner Art Museum. There is a $5 million reward outstanding right now for return of the paintings," DesLauriers announced last month.

While the FBI now believes it has identified the criminals responsible, they still haven't been caught.

DesLauriers is married and has a son, according to the FBI.

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