Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

Report of Jacob Shelby

Internal Report of Special Agent Jacob L. 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 against Julia Rochester and her associates. Seven months ago I began cultivating Deborah Forsythe, Julia Rochester's closest companion, in the persona of Jake Lewis, martial arts enthusiast and ostrich farmer. Deborah Forsythe and I "met" at her dojo, where we both attended classes in krav maga. It was my ostrich farming connection that really got me inside, though.

At the turn of the century the Rochester family was well-established and wealthy in South Africa, as proprietors of a thriving ostrich ranch.They did good business, mostly by selling plumes for ladies' hats, earning literally millions of dollars from selling feathers. Then, around World War I, fashions changed and ostrich farming was suddenly no longer profitable. Julia's parents, Cephas and Delilah Rochester, refused to give in and sell the farm. They continued to operate it for years at a loss until they were finally compelled to declare bankruptcy. Julia was born in 1923, when the farm was still functional though not doing any business, and learned to love ostriches and the farm despite the family problems. However, by 1935 all the money the family had ever owned or borrowed was gone. They lost the farm. Cephas Rochester died soon after, and Delilah was left with three children and no money. Somehow they survived, and Julia won scholarships to study to be an ornithologist.

She worked hard, but struggling female ornithologists in South Africa don't earn very much money. Julia began to realize that her dream of reestablishing the ostrich farm of her forefathers was floating out of reach. She switched tracks and came to the United States in 1950 to seek her fortune. She tried several professions and a certain amount of seduction but to no avail. By the 1970's she faced the fact that she was never going to get enough capital to start the farm up again by honest means. As far as we can tell, she turned to drugs at that point. She never used them herself, but slowly increased her 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 Forsythe joined her in 1990. Julia repurchased her parents' old farm at about that time, and has been improving it since then. She recently bought her first American ostrich farm and had plans to expand further when she died.

Deborah became a mainstay of the drug business almost as soon as she joined up. I was never able to learn from Deborah exactly how she and Julia met, but their arrangement worked surprisingly well. Deborah has a degree in business along with the brains and the instincts to use it well. She has a brown belt in krav maga. She does not seem to suffer from any qualms of conscience over her illegal vocation. One of her most striking characteristics is her loyalty to her friend and employer.

I was introduced to Julia Rochester two months ago. We discussed ostrich farming at length and she was very interested in my experiences with the work in the United States. Some time later I received the invitation to the week-long birthday party. The first time I met the others was when I arrived 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 practices her long-standing hobby of taxidermy, and was immensely proud of the stuffed ostrich chick she had prepared for her sister's birthday. I saw the poor thing; it was about the size of a chicken. Beatrice spoke of doing a full-sized bird in the near future for her dear sister. Beyond that, I learned that Beatrice and Simon love to travel and that they are currently feeling the teeniest bit of a financial pinch due to some outstanding gambling debts. I got the impression that they hoped to borrow enough from Julia to rectify their temporary problem with solvency.

George Edward Rochester is Julia Rochester's nephew, the son of her deceased brother. He and his wife, Margaret Anne McLean Rochester, were married a month or two ago. They have known each other for about five months. I believe Margaret might be the same person as "Squeaky" McLean, who was dismissed 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 curly blond hair from the newspaper photographs. You might want to check that out. Her husband seems like the most upstanding American citizen you ever met; he either acts really well or really knows nothing his wife's or aunt's murky past. I spoke to him about ostrich farming once, and he informed me that he was opposed to raising animals for slaughter. He's a vegetarian.