Sunday, August 16, 2015

Did a DEA agent mislead the Parole Board about White Boy Rick?

The Michigan Parole Board should take a very hard look at the “evidence” some law enforcement personnel presented to them at Richard Wershe, Jr.’s 2003 parole hearing. A thorough impartial review would show the “evidence” against White Boy Rick was shaky, at best. They can begin with a close examination of the testimony and “evidence” of former-now-retired DEA Special Agent Richard Crock.

He knew. Drug Enforcement Agency Special Agent Richard Crock knew the information in a DEA informant debriefing that he gave the Michigan Parole Board purporting to show a connection between lifer Richard J. Wershe, Jr. and the infamous Chambers Brothers Detroit drug gang came from an informant who was such an outrageous and prodigious liar that the federal government—Crock’s own team—indicted, tried, convicted and sent informant Terry Coleman to prison for lying; lying to a federal grand jury, lying on the witness stand at trial, lying about the Chambers Brothers drug empire.

Colbert told William Adler, author of Land of Opportunity, a book about the rise and fall of the Chambers Brothers drug operation that he was smoking substantial amounts of crack cocaine when he became a police informant. “I was smoking so much (crack) that whatever bullshit the cops asked me, I said yes this, no that. Whatever they wanted,” Colbert told author Adler.

Last week’s blog explained how Special Agent Crock went before the Michigan Parole Board in 2003 and presented “exhibits” purporting to make the case that Richard J. Wershe, Jr.—who was up for parole—should remain in prison and continue his life sentence because he was, in fact, the “drug lord” and “kingpin” that the gullible Detroit media had made him out to be before his trial and conviction.

Crock’s “Exhibit # 1” was the debriefing of Terry Colbert, the star snitch against the Chambers Brothers.

Agent Crock’s written memo to the Michigan Parole Board stated, “The Chambers Brothers were responsible for the vast majority of “crack” cocaine being distributed in Detroit.”

To drive home the point of how big and important the Chambers Brothers organization was in the Detroit drug underworld, Crock’s written statement to the Parole Board said, “…by witness accounts at the time (the Chambers Brothers were) responsible for distribution from well over 1,000 locations.”

Yikes! Anyone associated with the Chambers Brothers must be a bad hombre.

“As part of the Chambers case, the task force identified a number of cocaine suppliers for the organization, to include Richard Wershe, Jr., a.k.a. “White Boy Rick,” Crock explained. His written statement to the Parole Board went on:

“Substantiated information indicated Wershe supplied kilogram quantities of cocaine and firearms to the Chambers group. During 1987 Richard Wershe Jr. was regarded as one of the premier drug traffickers in the Detroit area. (Attachment 1)”

Attachment 1? You mean the DEA debriefing of informant Terry Colbert who went to prison for the maximum term allowed under the law for repeatedly lying to the grand jury and the trial jury in the Chambers Brothers trial? Attachment (Exhibit) 1? That’s your best evidence that Richard J. Wershe, Jr was a “premier” drug trafficker???

We can rest assured that if Special Agent Crock had any stronger evidence to show Richard Wershe, Jr.—White Boy Rick—was a drug kingpin, that he was a supplier to the Chambers Brothers, he would have handed it over to the Parole Board at that hearing. But Attachment/Exhibit 1 was apparently the best he had. He submitted other exhibit/attachments and we will explore some of them at another time.

Let’s go back to last week’s blog post and review what convicted liar Terry Colbert said about Rick Wershe in that debriefing about the Chambers Brothers drug ring. Note that law enforcement reports frequently put last names in all caps to make them easy to spot on a page.

That six page DEA investigative report of the Terry Colbert debriefing mentions Rick Wershe exactly one time—and it had nothing to do with drugs. On page three it states: “Also during the summer of 1986 Jerry GANT purchased firearms for the B.J. Chambers organization from Rick WERSHE. Most of the firearms were uzzis (sic) and 9mm pistols.”

That’s it. That is the only mention in Attachment/Exhibit 1 of Rick Wershe and the Chambers Brothers organization. Yet Special Agent Crock presented this flimsy piece of information to the Michigan Parole Board as proof Richard Wershe, Jr. was one of the premier cocaine traffickers in Detroit in that era.

Another fact worth noting; at the Chambers Brothers federal drug trafficking trial in Detroit prosecutors showed the jury an organizational flow chart, including the sources of supply to the massive drug ring. There were two names listed as suppliers: Perry Coleman and Kevin Duplessis. Rick Wershe, Jr.’s name wasn’t there. His name wasn’t on the Chambers Brothers organizational chart prosecutors showed the jury. He wasn’t even mentioned in the trial.

Nevertheless, years later in 2003, DEA Agent Crock told the Michigan Parole Board that Rick Wershe, Jr. was a supplier to the Chambers Brothers in keeping with his status as one of the “premier” drug traffickers in the Detroit area.

What’s wrong with this picture? Why would a DEA agent present the statement of a convicted liar to the Michigan Parole Board as evidence that Rick Wershe should stay in jail until he dies? Why didn’t he present the Chambers Brothers organization chart federal prosecutors used at the trial, the one that DIDN’T show Rick Wershe as a supplier to the organization? Why didn’t he tell the Parole Board Terry Colbert, the source of information for his Exhibit # 1, is a convicted liar?

Court documents show the so-called “No Crack Crew” of Detroit cops and DEA agents, of which Crock was a leading member, used Colbert as the confidential source to obtain court-sanctioned search warrants over 75% of the time in the 101 search warrants executed in the Chambers Brothers investigation.

Yet Colbert proved to be such a chronic and consistent liar that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit—the federal prosecutor’s office—indicted him for perjury—and won the case. What’s more, the judge gave Colbert the maximum sentence under the law. And a federal appeals court upheld his conviction and sentence.

In last week’s post I wrote, “Crock had to know Terry Colbert had gone to prison for lying to the federal government in the Chambers Brothers investigation. He was Crock’s informant!”

This week the term “had to know” is being replaced by the term “did know.” DEA Agent Crock, when he submitted “Exhibit # 1” against Rick Wershe’s parole, definitely knew he was providing the board with information from a man who was convicted and sentenced to prison for lying—in the Chambers Brothers drug investigation.

Upon further investigation, it can be reported that Special Agent Crock submitted an investigative report (known as a DEA-6 in agency parlance) specifically noting for the record that Colbert was sent to jail for being a liar.

In an August 1, 1991 report Crock wrote for the DEA’s Chambers Brothers investigative file, he stated: “On July 31, 1991 Terry COLBERT was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Paul Gadolla (Crock misspelled of the name of U.S. District Court judge Paul Gadola, now deceased.), Eastern District of Michigan, subsequent to his conviction on eight counts of perjury. (Emphasis added.)

Without a trace of irony, Crock’s report went on: “COLBERT was a DEA Cooperating individual, SI7—87—0030, who provided substantial information, grand jury and trial testimony against the notorious CHAMBERS Brothers “CRACK” Cocaine Organization. Previously, COLBERT was a trusted lieutenant and childhood friend of the Chambers Brothers.”

Jeez, dude! In the previous sentence of your report you just said Colbert was sentenced to prison on eight counts of perjury. Then you turn around in the next sentence and note this convicted liar provided “substantial information” in the Chambers Brothers case. Hmm. Which part was true and which part was a lie? Or do you know?

Well. In any event there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Special Agent Crock knew Terry Colbert had been sent to prison for lying in the Chambers Brothers case when he submitted the DEA Colbert debriefing as “Exhibit # 1” in his presentation to the Michigan Parole Board as to why Rick Wershe should remain behind bars instead of being paroled.

Why? Why did he do it? THAT is an excellent question—one someone on the Michigan Parole Board should ask because it’s obvious Special Agent Crock’s “Exhibit # 1” against Rick Wershe, as presented to the Parole Board, was highly misleading to put it charitably.

For those who missed last week’s blog post {“Rick Wershe and the DEA’s Informant Problem”), it was noted that the ONLY reference to “Rick Wershe” in the Colbert debriefing was that a Chambers Brothers operative named Jerry Gant bought some guns from “Rick Wershe.” The problem with that is, there were two Rick Wershes; Junior and Senior. The late Richard “Rick” Wershe Sr. was a licensed gun dealer and wheeler-dealer who was frequently on the edge when it came to obeying the law. So did Gant buy guns from Rick Wershe, Jr.—White Boy Rick—or did he buy them from the junior Wershe’s father? We don’t know and apparently the DEA didn’t know, either. There’s no evidence Crock and his crew bothered to investigate further.

I sent Rick Wershe an email asking about this 'gun' business. "I never sold BJ any guns," was Rick's reply. BJ - Billy Joe Chambers - was the driving force behind the Chambers Brothers drug operation. 

By presenting an official DEA investigative report to the Parole Board where a confidential informant (Colbert) mentions “Rick Wershe” in connection with the infamous Chambers Brothers, this seemingly connects Wershe to the Chambers Brothers—if you’re not paying close attention. In other words, it tars Richard J. Wershe, Jr. with the Chambers Brothers brush. Thus, to a casual reader of “Exhibit # 1” Wershe must be associated with the Chambers Brothers, right?  It is guilt by association, but the association is tenuous, at best, and highly questionable as to which “Rick Wershe” the snitch is talking about.

Here are three things we know:
  1. Rick Wershe, Jr. was recruited by the FBI as a drug informant for a federal drug task force which included the DEA. The Detroit DEA had access through the task force to Wershe Jr.’s work as an FBI informant.
  2. Many in the DEA harbored deep resentment that Congress had given the FBI authority to investigate drug cases shortly before the Detroit federal drug task force was formed. There have been more than a few turf wars between the two federal agencies. So if an FBI informant gets burned at a parole hearing, it doesn’t matter much to some guys in the DEA.
  3. Rick Wershe, Jr. helped the FBI convict some politically connected Detroit cops in a corruption sting operation. These dirty cops had friends in the department. Were some of their friends on the No Crack Crew of Detroit cops and DEA agents? Only the No Crack Crew knows the answer to that one.

Terry Colbert (Kentucky Dept. of Corrections photo)

What about Terry Colbert, the convicted liar/informant who mentioned Rick Wershe’s name to the DEA agents? What happened to him?

Well, he’s back in prison—again. This time he’s doing time in Kentucky on another drug case. Colbert is in for 11 years for peddling prescription drugs.

I reached out to him via email and asked if he would clarify which Wershe supposedly sold guns to Jerry Gant of the Chambers drug crew.

His emailed response:
“What’s in it for me?”

My email reply explained legitimate reporters don’t pay for interviews and what’s in it for him is the chance to set the record straight on some personal history. I noted his interview with William Adler in which he said he was smoking so much crack he was telling the police whatever "bullshit" they wanted to hear.

Colbert’s emailed reply:
“Check man you reached out to me with that bullshit since its bullshit im (sic) straight F**K WHITEBOY THE CHAMBERS AND WHOEVER ELSE THIS AINT THE 90,S I WAS YOUG (sic) AND DIDNT KNOW SHIT IM (sic) A GROW (sic) MAN NOW IVE (sic) BEEN TO HELL AND BACK LEAVE ME THE F**K ALONE”

I will.

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