"Freeway" Ricky Ross Claims "Case Closed," But Cops Disagree

"Freeway" Ricky Ross
"Freeway" Ricky Ross
Sam Slovik/L.A. Weekly

After he was arrested last week for allegedly carrying drug money in a vehicle, L.A.'s original "Freeway" Ricky Ross said the charges have been dropped.

"Case closed, charges dropped," he said on Facebook. With that statement he posted a San Francisco Chronicle story that originally said the case against him had indeed been withdrawn. The paper later revised its story, omitting the claim of dropped charges, without informing readers of the significant edit.

Authorities told L.A. Weekly charges have not yet been filed but that, in all probability, they would be.

We reached out to Ross on social media to see if he could clear things up, and he quickly got back to us with a phone number. Then he didn't answer. Then he referred us to an email address used by his "management."

According to reports, Windsor, California police stopped the vehicle Ross was in and found $100,000 in alleged drug money. Windsor uses the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department for public information services. 

"The charges were not dropped against Mr. Ross,"  Sonoma County Sheriff's Sgt. Cecile Focha told us last night.

"He knows this because he was in court this morning when the judge continued the arraignment to Dec. 9 at 8:30 in courtroom 9 of the Sonoma County Superior Court," she said. "That is when the District Attorney will file the complaint. As you know, it is a common practice in cases requiring further investigation that a filing date is pushed out 15 days or so by the court."

Ross, who is an admitted 1980s drug kingpin known for spreading crack cocaine throughout South Los Angeles, said he was racially profiled in the Northern California stop.

The 55-year-old now produces T-shirts, works as an inspirational speaker and appeared in a recent documentary about his life.

His dealing days also played out in the 2014 film Kill the Messenger, based on a book by Nick Schou, managing editor of L.A. Weekly's sister publication OC Weekly.

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That's the story of Gary Webb, the San Jose Mercury-News reporter who outlined the relationship between Ross' crack network and supplier Danilo Blandon, who was wholesaling drugs to benefit the CIA-supported Nicaraguan rebels known as the Contras. Webb's reporting was scrutinized, and he purportedly committed suicide by shooting himself twice in the head.

Ross, meanwhile, has had a drug dealer's version of nine lives, including a post-'80s vow to fly straight. But in 1996 he received prison time for purchasing drugs as part of a federal sting. His life sentence was reduced and he was released in 2009.

He again programmed true north on his navigation. He also sued rapper Rick Ross for allegedly stealing his name. Now this.

Ross said on his Facebook page that this was a case of racial profiling. He told the Chronicle a police unit followed his vehicle for two miles. He said he was carrying the cash so that he could negotiate the purchase of property in Humboldt County. He said the cash was made legitimately through speaking engagements and book sales.

"Because the case is now in the hands of the DA’s office, I can’t comment much on the specific details regarding the arrest of Mr. Ross and his passenger," sheriff's official Focha said. "I can state with certainty that their vehicle was pulled over because the deputy observed vehicle code violations. The allegation of racial profiling is completely unsubstantiated."


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