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"Freeway" Ricky Ross (1960- ) was a smalltime Los Angeles drug dealer who became one of the nation's biggest cocaine traffickers after inventing "Ready Rock," a cheap form of crack cocaine, in 1980. Ross's drug empire was instrumental in creating the crack cocaine crisis of the mid-1980s.

At his peak in the early 1980s, Ross was selling more than $1 million of cocaine (and earning between $100,000 and $200,000 in profits) every single day. He built a distribution network into dozens of cities around the country before being sentenced to life imprisonment in 1996. His sentence was later shortened to 20 years. He remains incarcerated today.

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