Freeway Ricky Ross Tells His Story

Former drug kingpin out of prison after 20 years.

Published : Saturday, 03 Oct 2009, 4:56 PM PDT
FOX 11 News LA

* Reporter: Chris Blatchford
* Posted by: Scott Coppersmith

asis01frontSouth Los Angeles ( – Freeway Ricky Ross was a 1980s drug kingpin who became a multi-millionaire urban legend in Los Angeles. So much so that a rapper took his name and parlayed that into a career as a music star.

The real Rick Ross spent 20 years in prison for his crimes… but now that he’s a free man, he’s got big plans for the future.

Ross sat down with FOX 11’s Chris Blatchford after his prison release to talk about the past, present and future.

It all started in the 80s. Freeway Ricky Ross had a loose network of gangsters selling his crack cocaine, relishing in the bling and bucks.

A small drug empire run by Ross with roots in Los Angeles spread to Lousiana, Ohio, and Texas.

By his own admission, on a good day, he pulled in 2 or 3 million dollars.

Freeway Ricky Ross:
“Yeah, the money was good back in those days.”

Cops formed a special “Freeway Rick” task force to try and take him down.

In Carson, they found more than a million dollars worth of crack cocaine. In Hawthorne, a million dollars worth. In Watts, detectives witnessed 20 customers serviced within 90-minutes. It was like a crack cocaine fast-food franchise.

But for years, they couldn’t catch Ross.

Freeway Ricky Ross:
“It was crazy. To say the least, it was crazy.”

The Freeway Motor Inn was just one of many properties he owned until he was caught and served 20-years in prison.

His views on prison are surprising.

Freeway Ricky Ross:
“Oh! Prison was wonderful for me because I transformed him from prison.”

Ross couldn’t read or write, but while serving most of his time in a Texas correctional facility, he learned and started reading books… 200 of them.

Freeway Ricky Ross:
“And it really opened my eyes to a whole ‘nother world.”

When he was finally released this week, Freeway Rick felt ready to enter that other world.

Freeway Ricky Ross:
“Superman! Ya know, i’m ready to go. I’m amped. I feel the sky’s the limit, ya know.”

Ross insists he wasn’t ever a gangster, just a hustler… a streetwise entrepreneur.

He already, he has a deal with Sacred Cow Productions for a reality show.

Ross has been featured on BET , has written his autobiography. He’s pitching a movie on his life, and started a record label of his own.

His image commands the cover on several magazines.

He has a blog , does the social networking scene , and is even trying Twitter to work his way back into big business.

Freeway Ricky Ross:
“I’m going to do it again. But legally this time. Without the drugs. Yeah.”

In his heyday, Ross was known for insulating himself behind a wall of drug-dealing lieutenants, which made him hard to catch.

Now, he doesn’t recommend that career path to anyone.

Freeway Ricky Ross:
“Because at the end of the day you’re going to wind up broke, in jail, or dead. Those are your options.”

He says his drug past was “a bunch of waste of time” and now he only looks forward.

Freeway Ricky Ross:
“I’m going out to redeem myself.”

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