A blog about the shadowy world of law enforcement informants with particular focus on the story of Michigan prison inmate "White Boy Rick" Richard Wershe, Jr. His amazing story compels us to look at many aspects of this underworld of the criminal underworld.
Rick Wershe’s 2003 parole “hearing” a Drug Enforcement Administration agent presented
“evidence” to show Wershe, known in the media as White Boy Rick, was a drug “kingpin”
in Detroit. He submitted a DEA investigative report of a “debriefing” of Roy
Grisson, one of Wershe’s close associates, alleging the then-17-year old Wershe was
peddling 200 kilos of cocaine a month in Detroit. Grisson has at long last been
located and he categorically denies everything in the DEA document attributed to him. “I never
heard such a crock in my life,” Grisson says.
The only “informant” to allegedly claim Richard J.
Wershe, Jr. was a major drug figure in Detroit, denies he ever told a Drug Enforcement
Administration agent and Detroit Police narcs any of the things cited in the
man’s so-called debriefing. The “debriefing” of Roy Grisson is perhaps the most important “evidence”
ever presented officially to “prove” Wershe was a major drug dealer in Detroit
in the late 1980s.
total bullshit,” says Roy Grisson of Detroit. “I never told them any of that stuff.”
He tells a radically different story of his “debriefing” from what is portrayed
in the DEA investigative report known as a DEA-6, which was presented to the
Michigan Parole Board as “evidence” of Wershe’s high level in Detroit’s drug
A DEA-6 document purporting to report an "interview" with Roy Grisson.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of this repudiation
of the “evidence” against Rick Wershe. The Roy Grisson “debriefing” is the one—the
only one—piece of informant evidence linking Wershe to law enforcement claims
that he was a cocaine “kingpin” and “drug lord.”
A previous Informant America post showed the other DEA
informant “evidence” against Wershe at his 2003 parole hearing came from a
snitch so unreliable the Detroit U.S. Attorney’s Office charged and convicted
the man on multiple counts of perjury—lying—in drug investigations. The only
other documentation presented to the parole board for the contention that Rick
Wershe was—and is—a menace to society, was the purported statement of Roy
Grisson about the level of Wershe’s drug dealing. Now Grisson is saying on the
record and for the record that what the DEA claims he said about Wershe is a
What’s more, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office has
officially “certified” in response
to a Freedom of Information Act Request from me, that the “documents do not exist” to support claims in a letter purportedly
written by former Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Duggan, now the Mayor of the City
of Detroit, that Wershe was the leader of a violent drug empire.
In sum, the “evidence” supporting prosecution claims that
Wershe needs to continue serving a life prison sentence simply doesn’t exist.
It’s a pile of unsupported accusations that cannot withstand the scrutiny of a full hearing—in any venue.
Grisson has been hard to track down. It has been a
months-long effort. Dave Majkowski, Rick’s lifelong friend, finally found him.
Majkowski manages the Free Richard
Wershe, Jr. Facebook page. I interviewed Roy Grisson late this past week by
phone in two separate sessions.
Grisson freely admits he knew Rick Wershe, the Curry
Brothers—convicted as a major drug gang on Detroit’s east side—and Cathy Volsan
Curry, the niece of Detroit’s late mayor, Coleman Young. “We grew up together,”
Grisson says of the Curry Brothers and Rick Wershe. “My sister had a baby with
Leo (Curry),” Grisson notes.
Grisson was running with Wershe when the so-called “No
Crack Crew” of DEA agents and Detroit Police narcs had Wershe in their sights
as a prosecution target in the spring and summer of 1987.
In July of 1987, Grisson says, Rick Wershe asked him to
give a ride to another associate named Mike Riley. The ride ended with Riley
trying to kill Grisson. The story in the DEA report and the story Grisson tells
today couldn’t be more different.
DEA Special Agent Crock’s report states Grisson “was the victim
of an attempted contract murder assassination.” The report implies Rick Wershe
ordered the murder. The DEA report quotes Grisson as remembering that just
before he was shot, “Riley stated ‘Rick told me to show you this.’”
Grisson says this is completely false. Grisson believes
Riley was “skied up” on drugs. “He wanted to rob me,” Grisson states firmly. “He
kept saying, 'where are the keys?' Where are the keys? I guess he thought I had
some keys of cocaine.” Grisson added, “He (Riley) never said ‘Rick told me to
show you this.’” The DEA “debriefing” claims that’s what happened.
implication is that Rick Wershe ordered Riley to murder Grisson as a contract
“Grisson feels he was the target of this contract killing
because WERSHE Jr. fears he will testify against him in an upcoming narcotics
case,” Agent Crock wrote in the “debriefing” of Roy Grisson. Roy Grisson says this is ridiculous.
(Memo to Special Agent Crock: Grisson didn’t die so it
wasn’t a killing, it was an attempted murder, but apparently no one on the
Michigan Parole Board nor anyone in the DEA reads your investigative reports
closely. Thus, your sloppy reporting was able to slide—until now.)
A Mac 10
Grisson says what really happened is when they arrived at
an address on Baldwin Street in Detroit Riley pulled out a Mac 10 machine
pistol and demanded to know where the “keys” were. Grisson says Riley (now
deceased) shot him in the arm. Grisson then grabbed Riley in a bear hug to pin
his arms against his body to prevent him from freely firing at close range.
This put the Mac 10 behind Grisson. He says Riley then shot him twice in the
As the two men fell out of the car and to the ground, Grisson claims
Riley shot him in the hip. Grisson says as a result of nerve damage from that
wound he wears a leg brace to this day.
Grisson recalls Riley got up and fired a shot at his
head. It grazed his forehead but Grisson blacked out. When he came to, a woman was
using towels to try to stop the bleeding. He passed out again. When he regained
consciousness a crowd of young kids had gathered around him. “He dead,” Grisson
remembers hearing them say. “I woke up and said, ‘I ain’t dead.’ They all
jumped back,” he recalls with a laugh.
An EMS rig took him to the hospital. He had them call his
niece who notified his entire family he had been shot. They knew he was in the
hospital. He had surgery for his gunshot wounds.
The next thing Grisson knew, some narcs were hovering
around him asking questions. Crock’s DEA-6 states: “The following paragraphs
give a detailed description of GRISSON’S motivation and statement.” (The last
names of people on police reports are frequently capitalized for easy location
on pages of reports.)
The hospital questioning was followed, Grisson says, by
the cops having him transferred to a gurney. A sheet was placed over him as if
he were dead. He says he was wheeled to an unmarked police van and transported from the hospital, without his permission or agreement, to a motel in suburban Plymouth, Michigan. “They
kidnapped me out of the hospital,” Grisson says.
What came next was an effort by anywhere from three to six
narcs at various times to “sweat” Grisson in to making statements and making
phone calls, which he refused to do.
First, Grisson says, they tried to get him to make a tape-recorded
phone call to Cathy Curry, who was Wershe’s live-in girlfriend at the time.
They wanted to hear what Cathy would say, Grisson states.
“I ain’t callin’ nobody,” Grisson says he told the narcs.
Next, they wanted him to call Rick Wershe and set up a "deal." Grisson says he told the narcs they were crazy. This kind of exchange
went on for hours. “They stayed on me,” he says. “They wanted to know if I was
going to join their team,” Grisson recalls.
Grisson says he knew nothing about any dope deals Rick
Wershe may have been involved in but the narcs weren’t buying it. “Hell, no! I
wasn’t in on no deals!” Grisson insists.
The DEA-6 report on Grisson given to the Parole Board at
Wershe’s 2003 hearing claims Grisson told Special Agent Crock about Wershe’s “narcotics
organization” and that “WERSHE, Jr. directs the distribution of 200 to 300
kilograms of cocaine monthly.”
Grisson purportedly told Crock he personally received
five to ten kilograms a month from Wershe to distribute. The cocaine is
purchased for $17,000 per kilogram in Miami and sold in Detroit for $22,000.”
Grisson says Crock made it up. “That’s a bunch of
bullshit,” Grisson insists.
Regarding Rick Wershe’s alleged dope deals, “I didn’t
know any of that,” Grisson insists. “That wasn’t any of my business.”
The DEA-6 report further states, “GRISSON requested DEA
protection from WERSHE in return for his total cooperation.”
Not true, not even a little bit, according to Grisson, as
we will see in a moment.
Grisson states after hours of “sweating me” the DEA and
Detroit Police narcs grew increasingly frustrated with him.
Grisson recalls the narcs fell asleep while
holding him at the suburban motel and that he eventually heard someone from the motel
staff outside the room and scribbled a quick note and gave it to a young man
who was some kind of employee at the motel, along with some money Grisson had
in his pocket. He begged the young man to call his family. Grisson hoped but
didn’t know if the motel employee would make the call. He did.
The next morning, Grisson says, most of his family showed
up at the motel and caused a disturbance in the lobby. They demanded to see
him. The clerk called the room and told the cops Grisson’s family, who knew he
had been in the hospital for gunshot wounds, was insisting they be allowed to
The narcs, Grisson says, spirited him down a back
stairwell and threw him in their van and drove him to downtown Detroit. Grisson
says the narcs dumped him in front of Funky Broadway, a clothing store. Grisson says he went to Henry the Hatter, a nearby store and used the phone to call his family.
Once he was with his family, Grisson says he called Rick
Wershe and Cathy Volsan. Wershe immediately offered to put Grisson in the
Michigan Inn, a nice hotel in suburban Southfield. He stayed there recuperating
from his wounds—and hiding out—for nearly a month.
“I stayed out there to stay away from the DEA,” Grisson
says. “I wasn’t hiding from the street. I was hiding from the DEA,” Grisson
states. “I was scared of the DEA.”
Grisson says the notion that Rick Wershe was a “drug lord”
or “kingpin” is ridiculous.
“If he was such a big dope dealer why did he still live
in the ‘hood?” Grisson asks pointedly. "Where was the money?" “Hell no! He didn’t have no big money! Grisson argues. He
says Wershe bought some cars, some clothes, some jewelry, but that’s it.
As for the “drug lord” and “kingpin” labels used by the
law enforcement establishment, Grisson urges people to use their common sense.
“Come on!” Grisson says with passion in his voice. "Who would trust a kid with 200
keys of coke a month??!!” Grisson asks rhetorically. Wershe was 16-17 during
this time period.
“Who would trust a child with that kind of dope? Come on!”
Grisson says, voice rising. “That’s crazy! That’s stupid! A kid? Come on!”