Freeway Ricky Ross, A Los Angeles Drug King Pin

By Alex Alonso for Street Gangs Magazine
November 1, 2006

The is a story about an American drug dealer, not a rapper who raps about pretending to be a drug dealer but about a real person who sold real drugs to real people. This narrative is about a person who was instrumental in the production and distribution of one of the largest rock cocaine enterprises ever in effect in the United States. This story is about a person who was sentenced to life in prison for his role as a drug trafficker. Ricky Donell Ross was born in Troup, Texas and moved to Los Angeles when he was young. Ross dropped out of Dorsey High School in his senior year where he excelled in tennis. Because he couldn?t read or write his coach informed him that would not be able to receive a tennis scholarship for college.

At the end of tennis season, Ross dropped out of Dorsey and enrolled at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, a vocational community college near USC. There he learned to bind books but he was interested in the L.A. Trade-Tech (LATT) tennis team, and Ross was still hoping his skills with the racquet would propel his career. He was considered the 3rd best player on the team according to the tennis coach and he was steadily improving but his other talent was stealing cars for which he was busted for in 1979.

Ross’ friend from San Jose State University told him about cocaine, a drug that was becoming more popular with the upscale party crowd but not popular among inner city residents. Through a cocaine-using auto upholstery teacher Ross knew at LATT, he met a Nicaraguan named Henry Corrales, who began selling Ross and his best friend, Ollie ”Big Loc” Newell, small amounts of this new drug. Because Ross and Newell where plugged into the LA gang scene they were able to quickly distribute the product in South Los Angeles. Eventually Corrales introduced Ross to Danilo Blandon a major supplier from Nicaragua. From that relationship, Ross went from a small time pusher to one of American most profitable street dealers in American history.

Blandon eventually would provide Ross with hundreds of kilos of cocaine on consignment and during his height, it was not uncommon to move $2 million or $3 million worth of crack in one day. Ross undercut other dealers and built a flourishing drug empire that spread all over the western part of the United States across to the Midwest.

Steve Polak former Los Angeles Police Department narcotics detective, who was part of the Freeway Rick Task Force, which was set up in 1987 to put Ross out of business stated, ” his poison, there’s no telling how many tens of thousands of people he touched. He’s responsible for a major cancer that still hasn’t stopped spreading.” Ross and Blandon avoided arrest for years. But in the late 1990s, the operation lost its contra connection. Both dealers were soon arrested on drug charges. Freeway Rick started serving a ten-year sentence, while the Justice Department intervened to free the Nicaraguan contra-connected Blandon and sent him home as a well paid Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) informant.

Other credible sources have made similar allegations about contra involvement in cocaine trafficking into the United States such as the December 1985 Associated Press story that exposed the contra alliance with cocaine smugglers. “Nicaraguan rebels operating in northern Costa Rica have engaged in cocaine trafficking,” wrote AP reporters Robert Parry and Brian Barger, “in part to help finance their war against Nicaragua’s leftist government, according to U.S. investigators and American volunteers who work with the rebels.” As evidence, the reporters cited a CIA intelligence report noting the contras in Nicaragua had bought aircraft with drug profits.”

After lengthy investigations, a U.S. Senate subcommittee chaired by John Kerry, the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, issued a report in 1988 concluding that “individuals associated with the contra movement” were traffickers; cocaine smugglers had participated in “contra supply operations; and the U.S. State Department had made “payments to drug traffickers for humanitarian assistance to the contras; in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted on drug charges.”

In an interview in 1994, Ross said that he was making as much as $1 to $2 million by selling as many as half a million crack rocks on any given day. With thousands of employees, Ross operated drug sales not only in Los Angeles but in St. Louis, New Orleans, Texas, Kansas City, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Seattle. Many speculate that Ross was the link between the CIA and Nicaraguan rebels trying to over throw the Nicaraguan government during the Iran-Contra affair. The theory is that Ross was buying cocaine from Nicaraguan drug traffickers who were in turn funneling money back to the CIA supported rebels in Nicaragua. Gary Webb interviewed Ross several times before breaking the story in 1996 to the San Jose Mercury News. Webb was eventually criticized for the allegations he made in the story, but many had been aware of a such plot before the story, including Congresswoman Maxine Waters of Los Angeles, who vowed to get to the bottom of this scandal.

Ricky Ross was convicted in 1996 of conspiring to buy more than 100 kilograms of cocaine from a police informant. He was initially sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole with his old friend and former DEA employee Danilo Blandon testifying against him. A federal appeals court threw this decision out and upon the trial judge’s reconsideration he was sentenced 20 years. Ross has been in state prison for 10 years now and he may be released in just two more.

Ross will be featured in new BET program, American Gangster on December 5, 2006 hosted by Ving Rhames.

Posted by on Nov 1 2006. Filed under Features. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

28 Comments for “Freeway Ricky Ross, A Los Angeles Drug King Pin”

  1. lorry jenkins

    interesting story

  2. raydeen e.

    i am very elated to hear a inmate become a person again,i have did time myself,and met guys who still don’t read or change. its good to hear about a change.more inmates need to hear this stories

  3. Educated Observer

    Gary Webb, the reporter who exposed the CIA conspiracy also wrote a great book called ‘Dark Alliance’. This book goes into great detail, piecing together
    the connections between the government and drug dealers. He was later vindicated by the CIA Inspector General Reports and Congressional investigations, with little to no media coverage. Mr. Webb also apparently committed suicide in 2004. On numerous occasions he told people, including Rick Ross, with which he had an ongoing friendship, that he was being
    followed, watched, his home invaded, and other frightening acts of intimidation.
    Was it really a suicide? Judge for yourself. Gary Webb is hailed as a Martyr
    in the South Central Los Angeles for exposing the lies and deception of the U.S. government.

  4. ghetto concious

    revolution awaits us.

  5. LBC Insane

    The real RicC Ross!!!

  6. DevoreWestPhilly


  7. CASE1

    Wasn’t this dude working with Bloods and Crips in San Diego too?

  8. Real ish

    ^^^yep this dudes sh*% reached out to the mid west with cali guys taking over there blocks gettin rich of they fiends

  9. La Mara

    He’s the biggest boss that you’ve seen thus far, he’s the biggest boss that you’ve seen…

  10. j

    N**** left LA cause them Hoovas was gonna get at him, snitch and s***
    Now he kicking with Mayweather and 50 Cent looking like a fiend
    Man quit it biggest bust since Greg Ogden

  11. J

    its more than an interesting story… CIA agent,Chip Tatum (deceased,) pretty much told on Clinton, the Bush fam, the CIA, and false patriot Ollie North, about blankblankinations on world leaders, american citizen, and the trafficking of cocaine through military transport. he disappeared in 1998, and was washed up on panama, with no face and a bullet to the head.

  12. […] kudos on your new stuff, Rick, although I’ll always remember the real Ricky Ross whenever your name comes […]

  13. Sean Martin

    The product sells itself, and while Rick Ross is locked up, Im sure there are 10 more Rick Rosses filling in for him! Never seems to amaze me how corrupted the government is, and thanks to Gary webb, Rick Ross got a fair sentence and has his life again!!

  14. Ramona Montgomery

    I don’t understand people these days, the drug dealers name was Ricky Ross the Rapper uses Rick Ross, so what if he was a prison guard ( honest living) at least he did not sell poison to his own people, he paid taxes and he is making a hones living now. He may not have ever been what he raps about (thank god) but Ricky Ross has a lot of nerve trying to sue him for 10 million dollars and half of his royalty’s, he has not changed, he is still trying to make a dollar of someone elses back. He needs to get a life and a real JOB!!!!!!!!!!!

    • buddha

      Rick Ross the rapper is trying to make a dollar off of Freeway Rick Ross’s name. You don’t get it? Talk about somebody who needs to get a life. This fool is using somebody elses name to get some street credit. And how do you know Rick Ross the rapper has paid his taxes? How do you know he is making an honest living? Just because he raps doesn’t mean he is living crime free. Just ask TI.
      Bottom line is … Rick Ross the rapper used Freeway Ricky Ross’s name because he knew it was an identifiable name with some street cred already. Being a C.O at a prison doesn’t get you too much street credit. The whole problem with this is that now Rick Ross the rapper is trying to act like a thug and he’s not.

    • tracy

      Well RICK Ross needs to use some of the money he’s making off of Ricky Ross’ name and pay up all his back child support. I mean really, how can you even enter into an argument with anyone about money when you are not taking care of what should be your first responsiblity? Talk about robbing somebody? His children are the real victims here

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    • Sic Down

      all of this info was exposed by a writer for san jose times, herald…something. Gary Webb. He exposed the cia ties with selling drugs and was black balled by the media for doing so. he may or may not have comitted suicide but he is dead and his family thinks it was covered up.

      • Sic Down

        the story actually mentions Gary Webb and another blogger below mentions him and his book Dark Alliance. guess i should read the whole thing before i post

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