100 Kilos (Part 1)





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Published on May 13, 2010

Ricky Ross was born on May 3, 1960 in Troup, Texas. As a young child he moved to South-Central Los Angeles, California, with his mother. Originally interested in tennis, he pursued a scholarship while attending high school. His coach, Bob Strohosky, who also went into drug trafficking in his following days, would later find out he was illiterate and remove him from the school. Ross then attended Los Angeles Trade Technical College and again pursued tennis, reaching the 3rd spot on the team. To make money, he turned to selling drugs to pay for tennis lessons. However, an arrest led Ross to quit school.[5]

[edit] Cocaine introduction
It was through Jericho Deerr, a college friend, that Ross was introduced to cocaine. Through Deerr, Ross found a connection to purchase cheap Nicaraguan cocaine: two Nicaraguan exiles, Oscar Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses Cantarero. Ross began distributing the cocaine around US$10,000 less per kilo than the average street price, his point of distribution being the Bloods and Crips street gangs. Eventually, Ross purchased his cocaine directly from Blandón and Meneses. By 1982, Ross had received his moniker of "Freeway Ricky," and is believed to have been selling over US$3 million in cocaine per day—and purchasing 440 kilos of cocaine a week.[5] In addition to cocaine, Ross was also able to purchase surveillance equipment, such as mini cameras and recording equipment. Some of the gang members that worked for him bought weapons ranging from uzi submachine guns to semi-automatic pistols to fight rivals, and they also bought expensive jewelry and flashy cars.[5]

[edit] Drug empire
With thousands of employees, Ross claimed he operated drug sales not only in Los Angeles but in places across the country including St. Louis, New Orleans, Texas, Kansas City, Oklahoma, Indiana, Cincinnati, North Carolina, South Carolina, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Seattle. He has said many times that his most lucrative amounts of money came from the Ohio area. He made similar claims in a 1996 PBS interview.

[edit] Iran-Contra involvement
Main article: CIA and Contras cocaine trafficking in the US
Ross's capture was facilitated by his career-long dealer Oscar Danilo Blandón, who "set up" Ross. Blandón had close ties with the Contras, and had met with Contra leader Enrique Bermúdez on several occasions. Blandón was the link between the CIA and Contras during the Iran-Contra affair. Gary Webb interviewed Ross several times before breaking the story in 1996. Ross claims that the reason he was unfairly tried initially was because of his involvement in the scandal. Blandón received a 24-month sentence for his drug trafficking charges, and following his release, was hired by the Drug Enforcement Agency where he was salaried at US$42,000. Blandón was not a U.S. citizen/national, and is the only known foreigner not to be deported following conviction on drug trafficking charges in U.S. history. The INS granted Blandón a green card, despite the criminal convictions, to allow him to work for the DEA. The DEA claims that they no longer employ Blandón, and his whereabouts are unknown.[6]


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