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Tag: white boy rick

“White Boy Rick” — The Tale of a Teenage Boy Who Became an Informant In Detroit For the FBI

Richard Wershe Jr. as a teen and now.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — At age 14, in the 1980s, Richard Wershe Jr., aka “White Boy Rick,” became an informant for the Detroit FBI in the war on drugs.

In time, he was doing undercover buys for the FBI and Detroit Police. Eventually he started selling dope on his own. At 17 he was arrested. A short time later he was sentenced to life in prison without parole under a state law. That law was later changed and he became eligible for parole. After nearly 30 years, he was paroled last year from the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Unfortunately, he was then sent to Florida to serve a prison sentence for partaking in a stolen car ring while he was behind bars there in the witness protection program. He’s eligible for parole in December 2020. He is now 49.

Hollywood has now captured the story of his life in a film released Friday titled “White Boy Rick.”

Related links:

Lengel: Watching ‘White Boy Rick’ with Richard Wershe Jr.’s Family Is Surreal

Vince Wade: The Many Untruths in the ‘White Boy Rick’ Movie Opening Friday

The “Dirty Politics” Behind the Imprisonment of Richard “White Boy Rick” Wershe Jr.

This Michigan Department of Corrections record shows his earliest  and latest release dates as never at the bottom right.

. Vince Wade is a former investigative reporter for WXYZ and Fox 2. He now lives in California and runs Informant America, described as ” a blog about the shadowy world of law enforcement informants with particular focus on . . . Richard Wershe, Jr.” This investigative story is republished with permission. It is part of an ongoing series on Wershe.

By Vince Wade

The story of Richard “White Boy Rick” Wershe, Jr. is an epic tale, sprawling and complex. It is a challenge to keep the story straight because there are so many players, so many events. It is a challenge to tell you about it.

It is much more than a story about a white teenage dope dealer in the black underworld. It is every bit as much a tale about police criminality, political corruption and what appears to be a decades-long vendetta, a dark and chilling conspiracy within the criminal justice system against a teenager who dared to help the FBI put politically-connected dope dealers and corrupt cops in jail.

It appears to be an organized violation of one man’s civil rights over his entire adult life. There are dozens of important events and hundreds of characters in this story.

Two key episodes were Wershe’s 1988 drug trial and his 2003 parole hearing. This lengthy blog post touches on both. Those bothered by how long it takes to read this should remember Rick Wershe has lived with all of this every day, 24/7, in an 8 X 12 prison cell for the past 27 years.

Featured_screen_shot_2015-09-11_at_10.39.42_pm_18471Ricahrd Wershe Jr. in court Sept. 4

A fierce, fast-moving battle of legal briefs is now being fought in the Michigan Court of Appeals over the re-sentencing of Richard J. Wershe, Jr. who is serving a life prison term for dealing drugs. Hitman murderers, serial rapists and habitual child molesters have been let out of prison by the Michigan Parole Board during the nearly three decades Rick Wershe has been kept behind bars. Others convicted of selling far more dope than Wershe ever saw in his life have been in and out  of Michigan prisons during his time behind bars.

Many Detroit news organizations have been wrong in their reporting dating back to when Wershe was convicted. Last Friday, for instance, two Detroit TV stations reported a Court of Appeals-ordered postponement of Wershe’s re-sentencing was a setback for Wershe. That is wrong. All parties agreed to the delay and Wershe’s defense team breathed a sigh of relief that the fast-moving court battle had slowed to give them time to hone their legal briefs.

The entire basis for demanding that Wershe remain in prison is the claim that his drug crimes were so vast, so deadly, that he poses a menace to society. If that claim can be shown to be false, there is no evidentiary basis, no factual basis for keeping Wershe in prison one more day.

Mike Duggan’s Letter

There are thousands of pages of documents related to Richard J. Wershe Jr., also known as White Boy Rick, in the files of law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The most damning by far is a letter from former Wayne County, Michigan prosecutor Mike Duggan to the Michigan Parole Board. Duggan is now the Mayor of the City of Detroit. In that letter Duggan urges the Parole Board to keep Wershe in prison until he dies. The Feb. 17, 2003 letter is dated several weeks ahead of Wershe’s one and only parole hearing since he was sentenced to mandatory life in 1988 for possession of eight kilos of cocaine.

The law was later changed to life with the possibility of parole.

Featured_whiteboyrick_8100Richard Wershe as a teen and now.

The three-page letter purportedly written by Duggan contains serious allegations in stunningly harsh language about the crimes and misdeeds of Richard J. Wershe, Jr. The use of the word “purportedly” will be clear later in this article.

In Michigan politics and in its courts, the name Mike Duggan has marquee value. He made a name for himself as the number two man to Ed McNamara, the late Wayne County Executive. McNamara was an old-school machine politics boss and he taught Duggan how to use the levers of power.

Read more »

Column: The Michigan Parole Board’s Crime Against “White Boy Rick”


Richard "White Boy Rick" Wershe Jr. as a teen and now.

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT –– The criminal case against Richard “White Boy Rick” Wershe Jr. played out during the late 1980s, when he was a teenager and the drug-trade  in Detroit was so high-profile that some dealers were household names. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking.

Today, 26 years later, another crime is being committed, this time by the Michigan Parole Board: It’s keeping Wershe behind bars. No Boy Scout on the streets, Wershe trafficked cocaine. But 26 years in prison? That’s more than sufficient punishment, and more to the point, gravely unjust for someone convicted as a teen. Even a recent Supreme Court ruling surprisingly showed compassion for teens who commit murder, something Wershe has never been accused of.

For years now, FBI agents and federal prosecutors — and even Kid Rock — have pushed for Wershe’s release. They have stepped forward because Wershe, now 44, helped the feds put away plenty dope dealers, and played a critical role in setting up a sting in the early 1990s that nabbed crooked Detroit and suburban cops, along with Mayor Coleman Young’s common-law brother-in-law, Willie Volsan.

But some local law enforcement types — including some who really had no clue as to Wershe’s activities on the streets– came to his parole hearing in 2003 and successfully torpedoed his chance for freedom, painting him as a far bigger player in the dope game than he actually was, and blaming him for playing a major role in destroying the moral fabric of Detroit. One of the Detroit detectives who testified against Wershe was later charged with drug trafficking and mortgage fraud.

“I think it’s ridiculous what we’ve done,” Robert S. Aguirre, a former member of the state parole board, said of Wershe’s 2 1/2 decades of imprisonment. “It’s wrong.”

Aguirre is the latest to join in the “Free Wershe” campaign. He served on the state parole board from 2009 to 2011 and previously worked as a Flint cop and Genesee County sheriff’s deputy, then ran a community corrections program in Lapeer County.

While sitting on the parole board, Aguirre took an interest in the Wershe case and pushed for a parole hearing. But he wasn’t able to muster up enough votes to get one. He said Wershe’s reputation had far surpassed reality, and that hurt him

He says “White Boy Rick” was “synonymous with everything bad in the mid-1980s.

“He was just a kid,” Aguirre said.

Gregg Schwarz, a retired FBI agent who worked Detroit drug cases in the 1980s and has been pushing for years for Wershe’s release, echoes similar sentiments: “This is a kid who tried to become a big deal but he never made it. He didn’t have anyone working for him.

“Now the parole board says he might still be a danger to society. Based on what? Was he ever arrested with a gun? No. Did he ever kill anybody? No. Did he ever assist the FBI and other local agencies? Yes.”

To read the full story click here.

 

Column: Time to Set Teen Drug Dealer Free After 25 Years; Retired FBI Agent Pushes for Release

Richard "White Boy Rick" Wershe/photo by Michelle Andonian

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit
DETROIT — On any ordinary day, Richard Wershe Jr. sleeps in and skips breakfast in his prison in northern Michigan. But on Tuesday — the 25th anniversary of his arrest in Detroit – he couldn’t sleep, so he grabbed some oatmeal with skim milk.

“I probably slept two hours,” Wershe told me. “I’ll never forget May 22. It still will always be the worst day of my life.”

Wershe is better known as White Boy Rick, one of the most famous drug dealers in Detroit history, a baby-faced, blond-haired, magazine cover boy who was only 17 when police arrested him in 1987 with $25,000 in cash while driving a new Thunderbird that had been rented by his girlfriend, Cathy Volsan. She was the niece of Mayor Coleman Young. Authorities later found eight kilos of cocaine, and they linked the dope to Wershe. He was convicted of drug trafficking Jan. 15, 1988 and sentenced to life in prison.

Wershe is in the news these days because he can’t get paroled — not even after 25 years in prison — not even after FBI agents and a federal prosecutor have vouched for him. Not even after he cooperated over many years and helped put away a bunch of dirty cops along with violent drug dealers.

While Wershe received a life sentence without parole, the state law was later changed, and he became eligible for parole, but in 2003 and 2008 he was rejected by a parole board. He’s up again in December for consideration.

To read more click here.

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