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16 July 2017, 12:04 | Patty Hardy
Rick Wershe granted parole 29 years after life sentence for cocaine
The 10-member Michigan Parole Board voted unanimously Friday to parole Richard Wershe Jr. who has been in prison since 1988 for possession with intent to deliver more than 650 grams of cocaine.
The former Detroit drug dealer dubbed "White Boy Rick" has waited almost 30 years for the information he received today: he will be paroled from prison.
Wershe turns 48 next week.
Wershe said he was going through sleepless nights leading up to Friday's decision.
He was arrested after police found he had stashed about 15 pounds of the high-grade powdered drug and almost $30,000 beneath a neighbor's porch.
While he serving his sentence, Wershe worked as an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was placed in the Witness Protection Program.
The then-baby-faced teen was sentenced to mandatory life prison under the state's strict cocaine dealing laws. He was 17 at the time.
The teenage drug dealer dubbed "White Boy Rick" in the 1980s will get out of prison in MI in the coming weeks, but it could be years before he's a free man. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled that life sentences for juveniles was not constitutional.
Richard Wershe, an inmate at the Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee, declined an interview request from the Free Press, prison officials said. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1988.
Wershe's attorney, Ralph Musilli, hopes to persuade Florida officials to give him credit for his time in MI.
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"Without the family and the outside support I have, I don't know if I would be the person I am today", Wershe said. "I sold drugs for 11 months". It's destroyed my life.
"All I can give you is my word that I'll never commit another crime", he said.
"The first thing I want to do is visit my grandparents" grave, ' Wershe told Click on Detroit.
Now, White Boy Rick is expected to go to Florida next.
Wershe, now a grandfather of six, also talked about selling drugs as a teenager on his own and answered questions about his role in the stolen car-scheme while in prison in Florida, calling it a "big mistake". Florida officials will be responsible for making arrangements for his transfer to serve his sentence there.
If not, if he gets paroled in Michigan, Florida would pick him up and make him serve about 22 months, his lawyer says.
Wershe will be released from jail as early as mid-August, but the Michigan Department of Corrections believes he will then be transported to Florida to serve several years on an outstanding jail sentence.
Wershe was sentenced to serve five years in prison in Florida after being convicted on racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering charges in 2006. The prosecutor's office could appeal the decision; however, Prosecutor Kym Worthy has said she no longer objects to Wershe's possible parole, which is considered a hopeful sign.
Retired FBI agent Gregg Schwarz, who worked with Wershe when he was an informant, issued a statement following the parole board's decision.
"At least he'll have a light at the end of the tunnel", Wershe's longtime attorney Ralph Musilli told the Free Press Friday.
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