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Teenage FBI Informant 'White Boy Rick' Released From Prison After 32 Years
Richard Wershe Jr. was just 14 when he began working for the FBI as a paid informant.
One of the youngest paid informants in the FBI's history, whose life was the subject of a 2018 Matthew McConaughey biopic, has been released from prison after spending much of his adult life behind bars.
Fifty-one-year-old Richard Wershe Jr., famously known by the moniker "White Boy Rick," was released from a Florida halfway home facility on Monday morning. Wershe had previously been paroled from Michigan state prison in 2017, but was promptly remanded to Florida to serve time for a car theft plot, The Associated Press reported.
In 1988, a jury had convicted Wershe of possession with intent to deliver more than 650 grams of cocaine — with officials claiming he was found in possession of eight kilograms of cocaine (over 17 pounds), according to the Detroit Free Press. Wershe was initially sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole but his sentence was modified to include parole after drug laws were changed.
Michigan state corrections authorities will continue to supervise Wershe's parole until August 2021, online records indicated.
“He’s anxious to get home,” Wershe’s attorney Ralph Musilli told the AP. “His head is in a good place. He has a good support group here, and he is finally ready get back into the real world.”
When he was a teenager, Wershe was recruited by the FBI to inform on Detroit's drug underworld in exchange for payment. Wershe’s life story was the inspiration for the 2018 film “White Boy Rick” which starred Matthew McConaughey and was named for Wershe's teenage nickname — a name he now dislikes and wants to distance himself from, the AP noted.
In 2019, two retired FBI agents testified in favor of clemency for Wershe — saying he helped prosecutors convict dozens of criminals, the Free Press reported at the time.
Due to the terms of his parole, Wershe is now expected to return to Michigan. He is required to look for a job and remain in the state.