Former teenage drug dealer Richard (White Boy Rick) Wershe was granted parole Friday morning after having served nearly 30 years behind bars in the Michigan Department of Corrections for a non-violent drug crime he was arrested for in the spring of 1987 and convicted of months later.

“I’m coming home,” said an overwhelmed Wershe to his attorney Ralph Musilli early Friday afternoon informing him of the news.

Wershe, just days shy of his 48th birthday, is the longest-serving non-violent juvenile offender in the United States prison system and the last remaining prisoner convicted under the state of Michigan’s now-defunct “650 lifer law,” ruled unconstitutional by the state supreme court in 1998. A Hollywood film starring Matthew McConaughey, Bruce Dern and 16-year old newcomer Richie Merritt chronicling Wershe’s life is slated to hit theatres next year.

His incarceration stems from a May 22, 1987 traffic-stop bust on the eastside of Detroit where police unearthed a box of cocaine under a nearby porch. Then only 17, he resided in Southfield and in the years prior, according to FBI and DEA records, had been a top-secret government-planted mole in the unruly, mainly-African American Motor City narcotics scene of the crack era, getting paid roughly $50,000 between the ages of 14 and 16 to provide a federal drug task force intelligence on local street dealers and kingpins.

The 650 lifer law had mandatory life prison terms without the possibility of parole for those convicted of possession with intent to distribute at least 650 grams of a controlled substance. This year was the fourth occasion Wershe has been eligible for parole in the close to two decades since the law was repealed. He was rejected by the parole board in 2003, 2007 and 2012 respectively.

Before he tastes freedom, Wershe might still have to go to Florida and spend two years in prison for his role in a stolen-car ring conspiracy he took part in from within a witness protection wing of a Miami federal correctional facility in the 2000s. Wershe’s attorney has filed a motion for resentencing in Martin County, (Florida) Circuit Court. If the motion is granted, Wershe could be released by the end of the summer.

In the years after being found guilty at trial in 1988, Wershe entered the Federal Witness Protection Program and helped take down a group of dirty Detroit cops connected to then Mayor Coleman A. Young. Adding fuel to an already intense media storm surrounding his case in the 1980s was the fact that Wershe was in a romantic relationship with Young’s niece. Wershe’s fight for a release from prison has garnered national headlines in recent years.

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