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Season Two: Episode 07
From Running Track to Running Drugs: 
An Interview with Orlando Jones

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Today’s episode of Shelley’s Plumbline features an interview from 1989 with Orlando Jones, a one-time track star at the University of Alabama. Orlando shares his story of how he went from running on a track as an All-American scholarship athlete to running drugs across the border in Mexico, eventually getting caught and landing in prison.

He shares his message in the hope that others might avoid his fate.

"Nobody makes it alone."

- Oprah Winfrey

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In 1989, two gang members from the Birmingham area approached Shelley and asked to be on his show, "Open Mic." They wanted to share their experiences about the myths and realities of gang life and share their regrets over the youth they lost while acting as members of a gang. Ironically, the mother of one of the gang members heard her son on the show and came in the following morning to share her feelings and warnings with other parents.

While the nature of gang life has changed between 1989 and 2023, there are a surprising number of things that are still in common. In fact, you might be surprised to discover the backgrounds of many gang members are not what you think.

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Part 2 of Stories From Teenage Gang Members & Drug Dealers Series

Today’s episode reaches back to 1986 and was part of a series of interviews Shelley did on Open Mic with drug dealers and youth gangs. This individual had a promising career as a backup drummer for the well-known blues musician Bobby “Blue” Bland. 

Unfortunately, the lure of easy money pulled him into the world of dealing cocaine, Although he didn’t start dealing drugs until he was 44 years old.


He shares stories about how, at that time, cocaine was cut with laxatives and even embalming fluid, and how the cutting agents were often more dangerous than the drug itself.


He finishes his story by recounting the death of his cousin and fiance at the hands of three drug users.

Stay tuned and learn from his life as we continue this series on youth gangs and drug dealers.

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Part 3 of Stories From Teenage Gang Members & Drug Dealers Series

This episode concludes our series on youth gangs and drug dealers with an interview of a young man who began dealing drugs at the age of 16.


He was brought into a gang at the age of 10 and exposed to the life of a drug dealer. During that time, he’d seen fellow gang members killed and maimed. He even shares a harrowing description of mutilation that happened to a fellow gang member. Listener discretion is advised.


He finally realizes what he missed and what he lost, and he shares a message with other young people.



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