Convicted drug dealer Rick “White Boy Rick” Wershe Jr. has long contended that law enforcement helped him launch his career in the drug trade.
In a new series, Wershe, who is serving a life sentence and can’t seem to get paroled after more than 27 years behind bars, tells WDIV’s Kevin Dietz how a federally funded local task force started using him as a paid informant in the Detroit drug world at age 14.
Initially, Wershe says the task force comprised of local cops and federal agents gave him a few bucks to identify drug dealers.
“And the relationship grew from there. It went into them sending me into houses to purchase drugs and stuff like that,” Wershe said.
“I was asked to go out there and get information about some people that were involved in the drug trade, and their connections, and how the drugs were coming in,” Wershe said.
Dietz reports that WDIV has documents to support that, and Wershe’s claims have been backed up by federal agents in the past.
Over two years, Wershe said he was given approximately $30,000, Dietz reports.
Wershe said he used the money to buy clothes, jewelry and even cars. He wasn’t even old enough to drive at the time.
At 15, Wershe says he was shot by a suspected drug dealer.
“I was shot and I never went back to school,” Wershe, 45, told WDIV.
Eventually, Wershe said, law enforcement walked away.
“They turned their back on me. I was a 17-year-old kid. I was addicted to the money,” Wershe said.
He started selling drug and at age 17 and was busted with eight kilos of cocaine. He was then convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to life in prison without parole under a state law. That law was later changed and his sentence was changed to life with the possibility of parole.
Scott Burnstein, an author and true crime historian, who has researched Wershe’s case for years, tells WDIV:
“I don’t use the word tragedy or injustice lightly, but I use it emphatically when I’m talking about Rick Wershe. “I honestly believe that this is the prostituting of our youth, and then just throwing them in a cage and throwing the key away.”