Monday, April 20, 2009


Ricky Ross (drug trafficker)

Ricky Donnell Ross (born May 3, 1960), also known as "Freeway" Ricky Ross , is a drug trafficker best known for the "drug empire" that he presided over in Los Angeles, in the early 1980s.[1] The nickname "Freeway" came from Ross owning several properties along the Harbor Freeway.[2] During the height of his drug dealing, Ross claims to have made "2-3 million dollars a week".

In 1996, Ross was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of trying to purchase more than 100 kilograms of cocaine from a federal agent. Ross became the subject of controversy later that year when a series of articles by journalist Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury News brought to light a connection between one of Ross's cocaine sources, Danilo Blandon, and the CIA as part of the Iran-Contra scandal.[3] The decision in Ross's case was brought to a federal court of appeals where his sentence was reduced to 20 years. His sentence has since been reduced further for being a model prisoner and he is currently scheduled to be moved to a halfway house in California in March 2009,[citation needed] and to be released on September 29, 2009.

Biography Early life

Rick Ross was born on May 3, 1960 in Troup, Texas. As a young child he moved to South-Central Los Angeles, California, with his mother. Originally interested in tennis, he pursued a scholarship while attending high school. His coach would later find out he was illiterate and removed him from the school. Ross then attended Los Angeles Trade Technical College and again pursued tennis, reaching the 3rd spot on the team. To make money, he turned to selling drugs to pay for tennis lessons. However, an arrest led Ross to quit school.

Cocaine introduction

It was through Henry Corrales, a college friend, that Ross was introduced to cocaine. Through Corrales, Ross found a connection to purchase cheap Nicaraguan cocaine: two Nicaraguan exiles, Oscar Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses Cantarero. Ross began distributing the cocaine around US$10,000 less per kilo than the average street price, his point of distribution being the Bloods and Crips street gangs. Eventually, Ross purchased his cocaine directly from Blandón and Meneses. By 1982, Ross had received his moniker of "Freeway Ricky," and is believed to have been selling over US$3 million in cocaine per day—and purchasing 440 kilos of cocaine a week.

In addition to cocaine, Ross was also able to purchase surveillance equipment, such as mini cameras and recording equipment. Some of the gang members that worked for him bought weapons ranging from uzi submachine guns to semi-automatic pistols to fight rivals, and they also bought expensive jewelery and flashy cars.

Drug empire

With thousands of employees, Ross claimed he operated drug sales not only in Los Angeles but in places across the country including St. Louis, New Orleans, Texas, Kansas City, Oklahoma, Indiana, Cincinnati, South Carolina, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Seattle. He has said many times that his most lucrative amounts of money came from the Ohio area. He made similar claims in a 1996 PBS interview.

Iran-Contra involvement CIA and Contras cocaine trafficking in the US

Ross's capture was facilitated by his career-long dealer Oscar Danilo Blandón, who "set-up" Ross. Blandón had close ties with the Contras, and had met with Contra leader Enrique Bermúdez on several occasions. Blandón was the link between the CIA and Contras during the Iran-Contra affair. Gary Webb interviewed Ross several times before breaking the story in 1996. Ross claims that the reason he was unfairly tried initially was because of his involvement in the scandal. Blandón received a 24 month sentence for his drug trafficking charges, and following his release, was hired by the Drug Enforcement Agency where he was salaried at US$42,000. Blandón was not a U.S. Citizen/National, and is the only known foreigner not to be deported following conviction on drug trafficking charges in U.S. History. The INS granted Blandón a green card, despite the criminal convictions, to allow him to work for the DEA. The DEA claims that they no longer employ Blandón, and his whereabouts are unknown


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