This story is over 5 years old.


The True Story Behind 'White Boy' Rick

Seth Ferranti talks about his correspondence with Richard Wershe, a.k.a. White Boy Rick, a teenager who gained notoriety for underworld drug dealing.
Image: Screenshot/YouTube

Seth Ferranti was serving his own prison sentence when he started speaking with Richard Wershe, the notorious babyfaced drug dealer known as White Boy Rick, through an interprison mailing system. They had both been incarcerated for nonviolent drug convictions (Ferranti for 25 years, Wershe for life) during a period when the government cracked down on even the most minor drug crimes, wreaking havoc on communities of color and people living in poverty.


Their correspondence would develop into a series of articles and exposés that Ferranti wrote as he started to uncover the real story behind Wershe's conviction. It was a wild tale of injustice and negligence, in which Wershe had been recruited as an informant by Detroit's drug task force, and then later cast aside when they realized he was underaged.

In an effort to expose the real story behind White Boy Rick and hold the justice system accountable, Ferranti teamed up with filmmaker Shawn Rech. We sat down with Ferranti to talk about his correspondence and the finished film product, White Boy, a new documentary released this week.

You can catch The VICE Guide to Right Now Podcast on Acast, Google Play, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. And sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.