How many years were you in the game before you decided to get out?
And even though you already decided to get out, Blandon helped you get to that point. Have you ever spoken to him since that day?
No, we never spoke again.
When did you officially go to jail?
1995. But I only stayed out six months from a previous arrest. I first went to jail in ’89.
While you were in jail it was said that you developed a relationship with the now deceased journalist Gary Webb. How did that happen?
My lawyer called me one day and said that this reporter wanted to talk to me. The guy knew Blandon. I was looking at a life sentence so I had nothing to lose. My lawyer was a little more skeptical about talking to reporters, but I told him, you know, ‘Hey, I ain’t got nothing to lose. Tell him come holla at me.’ So we started talking. From then I I talked to Gary almost every day. Sometimes two and three times a day. And he wanted me to because he was investigating Blandon and the whole case. He wanted my attention as much as he could get it.
During Webb’s investigation of your case, a lot of the media claimed his research was inaccurate. What caused that?
They was trying to say stuff that he targeted… that he sent the CIA car into the Black community, which I don’t think that Gary necessarily did that. [And] they were trying to say that the number… how much drugs they sold wasn’t accurate. Basically that he had a smoking gun.
With everything that went on, what would happen if you ran into Oscar Blandon on the street today?
I’m not mad at him no more. He didn’t really set me up. I set myself up. He never put a gun to my head or made me sell drugs. He just offered me an opportunity, and I took it.
How long did it take you to stop being angry with him?
It took a while. I wanted to kill him. I was mad when I had that life sentence, and I was in prison those first few months. I was so mad at him, mad at myself, the judge, the prosecutor, the police, everybody. I was just pissed. [But] I was a drug dealer. I was selling drugs, and I went to jail for something I did. Basically, I decided that I put myself in jail [and] I could get myself out.
You were originally sentenced to life, but got your time reduced to 20 years. Then went to the court of appeals and got more time shaven off. How did that happen?
I became a lawyer. I started studying law everyday. Then I found a loophole [in my case]. They was three striking me and I had only been to jail one other time in my life. So there was no way I could be a career criminal with only one prior arrest. I pointed that out to the district court they [didn’t] understand it. When I pointed that out at the appeals level [court], they got it and told the people I was right.
Through all of this, did your family stand by you or did they cut ties with you?
My family didn’t really know how to support somebody who was in prison. Pretty much, I had to maneuver my way through it.
So are you close to your family now that you’re out?
Absolutely. My family is very, very close knit. I’m trying to teach them what I learned about business and life. While I was in prison, I read 300 books. I educated my self I turned my cell into a university.
How many kids do you have now, and are you close with them?
Seven, [and] we’re pretty tight.
It’s been almost two years to date since you’ve been out of jail, what was the first thing you did once released?
I started a trucking company, Ross Express, and I have three trucks. [And] I also have a record label that I started. I haven’t put anybody out yet, but right now I’m in real close talks with Universal [and] Atlantic Records about a label deal.
So how can people contact you and see what you’re up to?
I got the website, freewayrick.com.