'White Boy Rick' Released After 32 Years

Richard Wershe Jr. locked up for drug crimes despite being FBI informant
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2020 2:19 AM CDT
'White Boy Rick' Released After 32 Years
This undated photo provided by the Michigan Department of Corrections, shows Richard Wershe Jr.   (Michigan Department of Corrections via AP)

Richard Wershe Jr., the youngest-ever paid FBI informant, is a free man 32 years after he was locked up for drug crimes. Wershe, 51, was released by the Florida Department of Corrections on Monday; his lawyer tells Fox 2 Detroit he will return to Michigan, where he has a support system including a son he did not get to see grow up. His fiancee reportedly picked him up in Florida. He'll be under supervised release in Michigan for another 13 months, the Detroit Free Press reports. Wershe's story inspired the 2018 Matthew McConaughey film White Boy Rick, which took its title from a childhood nickname of Wershe's that he does not like, per ABC News.

As Vince Wade, author of a book on Wershe, explains at the Daily Beast, he got a raw deal from the feds and his case has been the subject of controversy. He was recruited by the FBI as a drug informant at just 14 in Detroit, but when he was arrested by local police on a nonviolent drug offense at age 17, the feds did nothing to help him out. He was paroled in Michigan in 2017, but was then taken into custody in Florida on a separate stolen-car crime. Wershe is Michigan's longest-serving nonviolent juvenile offender. (More FBI informant stories.)

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