Ricky From the Dotte

BUSINESS

“We don’t want to separate the families so we will send them all back together.” Ricky mimicked the new president.

“What about you?” I asked from my perch a few bar stools away. I first met Ricky when I bartended at Dotlander’s in the old neighborhood, at the corner of 17th street and Central Avenue.

Ricky, a second-generation Mexican immigrant, is an extrovert, the guy who never met a stranger. He’s popular, gregarious, knows everyone who comes in the bar by name, and they all share unique handshakes. People trust him.

After high school, his cousin introduced him to drug sales. “You could say it was a family run business,” he said. “People keep bugging me to take them to it, so I eventually started making my own moves. I’m providing.” Ricky talked about it using the vocabulary of the business world. He compared it to running a distillery.

A cousin first introduced him to drug sales. “You could say,” he says, “it was a family run business. People keep bugging me to take them to it, so I eventually started making my own moves. I’m providing.” Ricky talked about it using the vocabulary of the business world. He compared it to running a distillery.

“It was a conspiracy,” he said when I asked him about getting caught. There was no actual proof. Instead the federales depend on a web of snitching. In a conspiracy, it takes two people to commit a crime. “Hey, Anita, let’s go rob a bank,” he says by way of example. Now there are two of us. “In my case, I told younger people how to set up their own businesses. Boom.” He shrugged. He was arrested and thrown in jail.

According to Jamal Hagler for the Center for American Progress, “one in six Latino males” born in 2001 will be imprisoned. “By contrast, only 1 out of every 17 white males is expected to go to prison” (28 May 2015).

Six o’clock one morning, someone pounded on his front door. Fearing a robbery, he grabbed his Mossburg 9MM shot gun. Two more pounds and the door flew open and the DEA poured into his living room.

He wasn’t a user, so there wasn’t a lot of paraphernalia around. Still, he says, “you begin to feel powerful and untouchable.” He was surprised even though he expected it. From his warm bed, he went directly to the county prison. But it could have been worse. Had it been a robbery, both he and his wife could have been killed.