Detroit in the 1980’s was an epicenter of large-scale drug rings and homegrown cartels. It was the height of power for Detroit drug lords like Butch Jones & Young Boys Incorporated (YBI), BJ Chambers and the Chambers Brothers gang (this group was the model for Nino Brown and his operation in the 1991 film ‘New Jack City’), Pony Down Crew, Maserati Rick, Best Friends, several dozen others and White Boy Rick.
Recently back in the news for being granted a severely delayed parole hearing set for December 9th, 2017, White Boy Rick, aka: Richard Wershe Jr., continues to be an intriguing character.
Born on July 18th, 1969, Rick grew up on Detroit’s Eastside at 13028 Hampshire St, basically Dickerson and Harper. During his early formative teen years, Rick fell in with a bad crowd.
14yr old Wershe linked up with Johnny Curry and the Curry Gang until they shot him for being an informant at 16yrs old and for cutting Curry out and going to (supposedly) the big white supplier, Art Derrick.
Wershe also started dating Coleman Young’s niece Cathy Volsan-Curry and one thing led to another in the HIDTA, high-intensity drug-trafficking area, and he started finding himself in hotter and hotter soup inside the cocaine cauldron drug hub of Detroit.
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In September 1986, an undercover Detroit DEA agent purchased cocaine from Rick at his house on Hampshire on more than one occasion. These purchases were suspicious because Rick was supposedly already a confidential informant for the FBI, DEA and DPD Narcotics.
Then in 1987, Rick was arrested outside his house during a “traffic stop”. He was charged with cocaine possession, however, the 8 kilos of cocaine were not found on his person but was buried underground at a random nearby house.
Then a few months later on October 13th, 1987, he was a passenger in a car driven by Robert G. Poulack, when they were pulled over on Manistique Street. The cops searched the car and found eleven pounds of cocaine in the trunk. Ultimately, 18yr old Rick ended up being charged with possession of 13 kilos of cocaine. Years later, Poulack would be charged with running a bogus Disabled Veterans of America charity scam in 2012.
1 kilo = 1,000 grams = 2.2 pounds
Thus, 13 kilos = 28.6lbs or 13,000 grams
To provide some perspective, according to NarcoticsNews.com, a key of coke in Detroit is currently selling for $30,000.
And there you have it. 27 years ago on this very day, White Boy Rick was convicted on February 4th, 1988 and remains the State of Michigan’s longest serving juvenile offender of all time. As a teenager he was given the State’s harshest sentence of mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole and remains a “lifer” lost in the system.
His father, Richard Wershe Sr., did prison time 1989-1996 for possession of 23 silencers. And at White Boy Rick’s only parole hearing in February 2003 in Plymouth, Michigan, Kid Rock and two ex-FBI agents advocated his release.
On top of this, in 1992, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that life without parole for possession is unconstitutional. So, the big question remains: should this man still be in prison? Why or why not?
You have to wonder to what extent his lack of parents, fucked up environment, need to enterprise to survive and being constantly manipulated by adults for profit affected his mindset and behavior. If we were all held to the decisions we made as teenagers, we’d all be in jail, baby!
White Boy Rick is incarcerated at Oaks Prison on the Westside of the Murder Mitten at the edge of Manistee National Forest on Lake Michigan. A Hollywood feature film directed by Joseph Kosinski entitled ‘The Trials of White Boy Rick’ is supposedly in the works at Universal Pictures.
Oaks Correctional Facility
1500 Cabarfae Hwy
Manistee, MI 49660-9200
As a bonus, here’s the 1993 Kid Rock music video, a funny early 90s time capsule: