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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB Fox 41) -- One of the most notorious drug dealers in American history is in Louisville. "Freeway Ricky Ross" has turned his life around, and now trying to get rich -- legally.
Ross was a 1980s drug lord who became a multimillionaire selling crack cocaine on the streets of Los Angeles. "I had eventually became one of the biggest in L.A. or the biggest in L.A., I don't know, it's hard to say," says Ross.
At the height of his drug empire, Ross is rumored to have made as much as a million dollars a day. A newspaper had spoke to the prosecutors, and he said that I was making close to $600 million every two years," says Ross.
Ross was even so popular that a rapper stole his name and parleyed it into a music career. "If they talk to the guys who done that like the Larry Hoovers, the big Meech, those guys will tell 'em that it's not worth it," says Ross.
That's why the real Ricky Ross is trying to spread a different message these days, that everything that glitters is not gold. Ross was in town speaking to students at the University of Louisville's Center for the Study of Crime and Justice in the Black Communities.
"Certainly I've had to field a lot of questions about why would you bring a drug dealer to the University of Louisville and to Louisville, Kentucky and I have to remind people we're talking about a former drug dealer," says Dr. Ricky Jones, Professor & Director, Center for the Study of Crime and Justice in Black Communities.
Dr. Jones says he by no means wants to glorify Ross's former lifestyle, but wants his students to see the reality of the drug business. "The kids who know of that name through hip-hop more so with any event so far that they're finding out that there is a broad line between fact and fantasy."
Ross is working on several legal business ventures and a movie about his life.