July 22, 2020 – It was one Detroit street legend looking out and giving props to another when Richard (White Boy Rick) Wershe finally walked out of prison Monday after 32 years wearing a Free Big Meech t-shirt. Although they’re infamy in Motown and beyond, each symbolize different eras in time, they are both 51 and were incarcerated on non-violent narcotics offenses.

Wershe was the longest-serving non-violent juvenile offender in United States history when he was released earlier this week, having been locked up since 1988 on an arrest for cocaine possession he took at just 17. He was a genuine phenomenon in the Michigan media for a good two years, a fur-coat wearing wunderkind playing ball with the biggest black kingpins of the crack decade, secretly working for the FBI.    

Flenory, a genuine icon of American crime who wrote the book on how to be a 21st Century drug boss, has been in prison for 15 years of a 30-year sentence and currently has a motion for compassionate release pending in front of U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson on the grounds of health concerns related to COVID-19 pandemic. Despite being off the streets for a decade and a half, Big Meech is an authentic hip-hop deity at this point, name-checked in countless rap anthems and showered with praise by celebrities on social media.  

Wershe unjustly became the posterboy for the Detroit drug scene of the late 1980s, his youth, skin-color and swagger taking the underworld and local press corps by storm. Demetrius (Big Meech) Flenory was the rightful leading man in the story of cocaine in the New Millennium, ascending to heights in the dope game and American pop-culture few of his ilk – really only Al Capone and John Gotti – have ever experienced.

The tale of Flenory and his Black Mafia Family’s rise and fall will be told in an upcoming 50-Cent produced scripted television drama titled BMF on the Starz network. BMF evolved into the Walgreens of the drug world, an outpost on almost every corner of distribution territory in the country. The massive Operation Motor City Mafia bust that brought down BMF dropped in October 2005. Flenory pleaded guilty on the morning of trial two years later.

Wershe’s story was made into the 2018 film White Boy Rick, starring newcomer Richie Merritt as Wershe and Matthew McConaughey as Wershe’s street-hustler of a dad. A federal drug task force illegally recruited Wershe to be a mole for them right out of junior high school. The task force was convened to crack the Curry Brothers Gang’s grip on the eastside Detroit dope game and get the gang’s suave, politically-connected boss, Johnny Curry, to turn on the city’s lightning-rod Mayor Coleman Young, a longtime target of the federal government dating back to his days in the numbers business.

The quick-thinking, naturally slick-gamed Wershe helped the feds nail Curry, but Curry never gave them the Mayor. Johnny Curry and his organization were dismantled in an April 1987 case that sent him to prison for 12 years. Wershe was arrested by the Detroit Police Department the following month after being caught ditching 8 kilos of cocaine in a post traffic stop melee in front of his grandmother’s home.

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