Joe Rogan hosts his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, with guest Rick Ross to discuss drugs, hip hop, “management”, and more. This episode is #208.
Ricky Donnell Ross, also known as “Freeway” Rick Ross, is an American convicted drug trafficker best known for the “drug empire” that he presided over in Los Angeles, California, in the early-1980s.
The nickname “Freeway” came from Ross’s ownership of several properties along the Los Angeles-area Harbor Freeway as well as the existence of a freeway near his childhood home. During the height of his drug dealing, Ross claims to have sold “$3 million in one day.” According to the Oakland Tribune, “In the course of his rise, prosecutors estimate that Ross exported several tons of cocaine to New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, and made more than $600 million in the process.”
In 1996, Ross was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of trying to purchase more than 100 kilograms of cocaine from a federal agent. Ross became the subject of controversy later that year when a series of articles by journalist Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury News brought to light a connection between one of Ross’s cocaine sources, Danilo Blandon, and the CIA as part of the Iran-Contra scandal. The decision in Ross’s case was brought to a federal court of appeals where his sentence was reduced to 20 years. His sentence was then reduced further due to being a model prisoner, and he was moved to a halfway house in California in March 2009. Ross was released from imprisonment on September 29, 2009
Joseph James “Joe” Rogan is an American martial artist, stand-up comedian, actor, writer and color commentator. He is best known for playing Joe Garrelli on the NBC sitcom NewsRadio, commentating for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and hosting the NBC reality show Fear Factor.
In 1981, at age fourteen, he became a practitioner of Kenpo Karate before transitioning to Taekwondo. He eventually gained a 2nd dan black belt. A four-time state champion in Massachusetts, in 1987 he was the USA Taekwondo U.S. Open Champion. In 1996, he began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Jean Jacques Machado, eventually earning his brown belt. In addition, he holds a brown belt in 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu under Eddie Bravo. He also practiced and competed in kickboxing.
Ross’s capture was facilitated by his career-long dealer Oscar Danilo Blandon, who “set up” Ross. Blandón had close ties with the Contras, and had met with Contra leader Enrique Bermúdez on several occasions. Blandón was the link between the CIA and Contras during the Iran-Contra affair. Gary Webb interviewed Ross several times before breaking the story in 1996. Ross claims that the reason he was unfairly tried initially was because of his involvement in the scandal. Blandón received a 24-month sentence for his drug trafficking charges, and following his release, was hired by the Drug Enforcement Administration where he was salaried at US$42,000. Blandón was not a U.S. citizen/national, and is the only known foreigner not to be deported following conviction on drug trafficking charges in U.S. history. The INS was ordered to grant Blandón a green card, despite the criminal convictions, to allow him to work for the DEA. The DEA claims that they no longer employ Blandón, and his whereabouts are unknown.