freeway rick ross

Freeway Rick Ross Net Worth: From Drug Empire to Redemption

Landry Zoya 

Discover the intriguing life story of Ricky Donnell “Freeway Rick” Ross, an American author and former drug trafficker who rose to infamy with his massive drug empire in Los Angeles during the early to mid-1980s. In this article, we will delve into his rise and fall, his remarkable legal journey, and ultimately, his net worth. Join us as we explore the captivating life of Freeway Rick Ross.

Early Life and Nickname

Ricky Donnell Ross was born on January 26th, 1960, in Tyler, Texas. At the age of 3, he relocated to Los Angeles with his mother, Annie Mae Mauldin. Ross’s father, Sonny Ross, had previously served as a cook in the Army and worked as a pig farmer. Settling in a neighborhood situated beneath the Interstate 110, Ross earned the moniker “Freeway,” which has been linked to either his residence along the Interstate or his connection to it. Regardless, the Interstate 110 would become a significant part of Rick’s life.

While growing up in Los Angeles, Ross supported his mother by taking various odd jobs and developed a passion for playing tennis. Although tennis may seem incidental to his life story, it played a pivotal role for him. Despite lacking natural athleticism, Ross displayed determination and surprising agility on the tennis court.

During his teenage years, Ross devoted himself entirely to the sport, playing daily and earning a spot on his high school team after moving to South Central Los Angeles. He attended Susan Miller Dorsey High School, where he became a prominent member of an exceptional tennis team that surpassed all expectations. Some of his teammates even achieved professional success in the sport.

However, tragedy struck when Ross’s mother was arrested for the murder of his uncle. Tennis continued to serve as an escape for him, and he caught the attention of Cal State scouts for their tennis team. Unfortunately, his illiteracy led to rejection, extinguishing his dreams of obtaining a tennis scholarship. With his tennis career cut short, Ross reluctantly turned to a path he had managed to avoid throughout his youth: a life of crime.

Criminal Career and Soaring Empire

Ross found his initial foothold in Los Angeles’s criminal underworld when he became a part-owner of an auto chop shop. It was during this time that he was introduced to cocaine, and within days, he began selling it. Henry Corrales, his supplier, provided him with an ample supply of Nicaraguan cocaine. Later, in 1984, Ross crossed paths with Oscar Danilo Blandon Reyes, another Nicaraguan drug trafficker. Over time, Ross expanded his operation nationwide, establishing connections with Colombian drug cartels.

Reinvesting his profits into legitimate enterprises, Ross purchased a house with $250,000 in cash and adopted the precautionary measure of wearing a bulletproof vest at all times. Furthermore, he invested millions into a tennis training program for young teenagers. Unbeknownst to him, Ross was unwittingly involved in a significant drug operation that served as funding for the Contra rebels, partly orchestrated by the CIA.

By 1985, the “Freeway Ricky Task Force” was established by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, comprising a dedicated team of law enforcement officers intent on dismantling Ross’s empire. Despite widespread corruption within the police force aiding Ross in evading capture for many years, it was only a matter of time before the authorities closed in. In the late 1980s, Ross faced drug trafficking charges in connection to the seizure of nine kilos of cocaine attributed to his organization.

Initially, Ross managed to significantly reduce his sentence by testifying against corrupt police officers. However, his former business partner, Blandon, eventually turned on him, providing additional incriminating evidence that resulted in Ross receiving a life sentence. Yet, this was not the end of his story. Ross’s tenacity and hunger for knowledge led him to spend countless hours in the prison library, where he overcame his illiteracy and devoured over 300 books.

Redemption and Legal Journey

Focusing on self-help and entrepreneurship literature, Ross’s newfound knowledge inspired him to resume playing tennis with fellow inmates. However, his most significant achievement during his time behind bars was acquiring an understanding of the legal system, which ultimately enabled him to successfully appeal his sentence. After tireless efforts, he managed to have his life sentence reduced to 20 years, resulting in his release in 2009.

Post-Prison Endeavors and Autobiography

In 2013, Ross embarked on writing his autobiography, delving into the untold aspects of his life. The release of “Freeway Rick Ross: The Untold Autobiography” in 2014 drew a substantial crowd in Los Angeles and garnered rave reviews. Through his book, Ross shed light on his past, the drug trade, and his path to redemption.

Media Appearances and Legal Battles

Apart from his literary endeavors, Rick Ross made numerous public speaking appearances and became involved in television and film projects. In 2015, he featured prominently in the Emmy-nominated documentary “Freeway: Crack in the System.” Additionally, he became a frequent guest on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, sharing his unique perspective with a broad audience.

Furthermore, Ross engaged in a legal battle with rapper William Leonard Roberts II, professionally known as “Rick Ross.” Ross claimed that he was the “real” Rick Ross and filed a lawsuit against the rapper for copyright infringement. Seeking $10 million in compensation, Ross’s case was ultimately dismissed by the court. Despite multiple appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of the rapper based on the First Amendment.

Freeway Rick Ross’ Net Worth

Currently, “Freeway” Rick Ross has an estimated net worth of $1 million. At the height of his drug empire, Ross’s operations reportedly generated up to $3 million per day. He claims that his peak net worth exceeded $600 million. However, due to his legal troubles and subsequent incarceration, much of his fortune was lost or confiscated.


From his humble beginnings in Texas to his reign as a notorious drug trafficker in Los Angeles, Freeway Rick Ross’s life has been one of remarkable twists and turns. Despite the adversities he faced, Ross managed to transform his circumstances through determination, education, and a tenacious pursuit of legal justice. Today, with a net worth of $1 million, he continues to share his story, providing valuable insights into the consequences of his choices and the power of redemption.

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