Led by Richie Merritt and Matthew McConaughey, “Undercover – True Story” is available on CANAL +. The opportunity to review the career of Richard Wershe Jr., drug dealer and informant at 14 years old.
We no longer count biopics on real drug lords: Blow, American Gangster, Escobar, etc. Undercover – A true story ties into this very cinematic genre, but the trafficker who is at the center of Yann Demange’s film stands out for his age. Richard Wershe Jr., nicknamed “White Boy Rick”, was indeed 14 years old when he became a major dealer and informant for the FBI.
Born in 1969, he grew up in a working-class neighborhood east of Detroit, a city particularly affected by the automobile crisis. Given the growing poverty of the metropolis, the crime rate is worryingly increasing. In the mid-1980s, Detroit became the epicenter of the epidemic of crack and cocaine use that was ravaging the country.
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Richard Wershe Jr. has an unusual relationship with his father, an arms dealer, since he helps him in his activities. It is also through this that the teenager meets important traffickers and launches into the illicit drug trade. When the FBI seeks to use Richard Wershe Sr. as an informant, he realizes that the son has much better information on the dealers.
The police then called on him to be able to make several arrests. Along with his criminal activities, the teenager therefore becomes an informer.
At first, Richard infiltrates the “Curry Crew”, a gang that dominates drug trafficking in the eastern neighborhoods of the city. He befriends the youngest of the Curry siblings, Rudell “Boo” Curry, and enters a dangerous world, made of easy money, endless parties and beautiful cars, but where violence is likely to explode. any time. Intelligent and resourceful, Richard rose through the ranks.
When the main members of the “Curry Crew” are arrested, the FBI drops Richard Wershe Jr .. The latter then decides to create his own network, using the wholesaler of the gang, based in Florida. If, at first, the teenager managed to generate significant profits, his career ended in May 1987, when he was arrested in possession of eight kilos of cocaine.
Aged 17, he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. If this sentence may seem disproportionate, it results from the “650 Lifer” law, which is specific to Michigan. The latter stipulates that anyone with more than 650 grams of cocaine can never get out of prison.
Undercover – a true story: interview with its director Yann Demange
The FBI refusing to confirm his role of informant, Richard Wershe Jr. tries to reduce his conviction by denouncing the corruption of certain members of the police force. His prison sentence is not reduced, however, showing just how likely the idea of a plot to prevent him from testifying, as part of an anti-corruption investigation, is.
This political vendetta earned Richard Wershe Jr. the next 29 years of his life behind bars. A record sentence in the state of Michigan for a minor whose crime does not relate to assaulting individuals. Many people are mobilizing to get him out. On July 14, 2017, a majority of the state parole board finally voted for his release.
However, he still has to serve a three-year sentence in Florida for another auto-theft offense. Richard’s father died in 2014.
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