Internal Report of Special Agent JacobL. Shelby, DEA
Our awareness of the Rochester drug ring goes back a number of years,but only fairly recently have we been able to gather hard evidence againstJulia Rochester and her associates. Seven months ago I began cultivatingDeborah Forsythe, Julia Rochester's closest companion, in the persona ofJake Lewis, martial arts enthusiast and ostrich farmer. Deborah Forsytheand I "met" at her dojo, where we both attended classes in kravmaga. It was my ostrich farming connection that really got me inside, though.
At the turn of the century the Rochester family was well-establishedand wealthy in South Africa, as proprietors of a thriving ostrich ranch.They did good business, mostly by selling plumes for ladies' hats, earningliterally millions of dollars from selling feathers. Then, around WorldWar I, fashions changed and ostrich farming was suddenly no longer profitable.Julia's parents, Cephas and Delilah Rochester, refused to give in and sellthe farm. They continued to operate it for years at a loss until they werefinally compelled to declare bankruptcy. Julia was born in 1923, when thefarm was still functional though not doing any business, and learned tolove ostriches and the farm despite the family problems. However, by 1935all the money the family had ever owned or borrowed was gone. They lostthe farm. Cephas Rochester died soon after, and Delilah was left with threechildren and no money. Somehow they survived, and Julia won scholarshipsto study to be an ornithologist.
She worked hard, but struggling female ornithologists in South Africadon't earn very much money. Julia began to realize that her dream of reestablishingthe ostrich farm of her forefathers was floating out of reach. She switchedtracks and came to the United States in 1950 to seek her fortune. She triedseveral professions and a certain amount of seduction but to no avail. Bythe 1970's she faced the fact that she was never going to get enough capitalto start the farm up again by honest means. As far as we can tell, she turnedto drugs at that point. She never used them herself, but slowly increasedher prestige as a dealer until she had created a midwestern drug empire.By the 1980's, when a few pioneers were reviving the art of ostrich farming,Julia had established her own drug-dealing infrastructure. Deborah Forsythejoined her in 1990. Julia repurchased her parents' old farm at about thattime, and has been improving it since then. She recently bought her firstAmerican ostrich farm and had plans to expand further when she died.
Deborah became a mainstay of the drug business almost as soon as shejoined up. I was never able to learn from Deborah exactly how she and Juliamet, but their arrangement worked surprisingly well. Deborah has a degreein business along with the brains and the instincts to use it well. Shehas a brown belt in krav maga. She does not seem to suffer from any qualmsof conscience over her illegal vocation. One of her most striking characteristicsis her loyalty to her friend and employer.
I was introduced to Julia Rochester two months ago. We discussed ostrichfarming at length and she was very interested in my experiences with thework in the United States. Some time later I received the invitation tothe week-long birthday party. The first time I met the others was when Iarrived at the house a week ago.
Beatrice and Simon Miller are Julia Rochester's younger sister and brother-in-law.Simon is a retired pharmacist with no discernable interest in ostriches.Beatrice used to teach high school but is now retired. She still practicesher long-standing hobby of taxidermy, and was immensely proud of the stuffedostrich chick she had prepared for her sister's birthday. I saw the poorthing; it was about the size of a chicken. Beatrice spoke of doing a full-sizedbird in the near future for her dear sister. Beyond that, I learned thatBeatrice and Simon love to travel and that they are currently feeling theteeniest bit of a financial pinch due to some outstanding gambling debts.I got the impression that they hoped to borrow enough from Julia to rectifytheir temporary problem with solvency.
George Edward Rochester is Julia Rochester's nephew, the son of her deceasedbrother. He and his wife, Margaret Anne McLean Rochester, were married amonth or two ago. They have known each other for about five months. I believeMargaret might be the same person as "Squeaky" McLean, who wasdismissed from the DA's office the year before last because of her (unproved)association with organized crime. I never met her, but I remember the curlyblond hair from the newspaper photographs. You might want to check thatout. Her husband seems like the most upstanding American citizen you evermet; he either acts really well or really knows nothing his wife's or aunt'smurky past. I spoke to him about ostrich farming once, and he informed methat he was opposed to raising animals for slaughter. He's a vegetarian.