The Fast Life and Near Death of Nica

He was raised to be a soldier by the contras in Nicaragua. When he came to South Florida, he found his calling as a gang warlord.

A life in pictures (clockwise from top left): Wilbert as a boy in Nicaragua, before the war ripped through his town; as snapped by the gang task force not long before the hit-and-run (note the scar over right eye caused by a rival slamming him with a car); near death after the hit-and-run; Nica with his new face, and a new life
A life in pictures (clockwise from top left): Wilbert as a boy in Nicaragua, before the war ripped through his town; as snapped by the gang task force not long before the hit-and-run (note the scar over right eye caused by a rival slamming him with a car); near death after the hit-and-run; Nica with his new face, and a new life
Wilbert as a boy in Nicaragua, before the war ripped through his town (top), and as snapped by the gang task force not long before the hit-and-run (note the scar over right eye caused by a rival slamming him with a car);
Wilbert as a boy in Nicaragua, before the war ripped through his town (top), and as snapped by the gang task force not long before the hit-and-run (note the scar over right eye caused by a rival slamming him with a car);

In moments like these, Nica sounds unabashedly hopeful. He says he's proud of all he's survived: the Sandinistas, the contras, the Midnight Crips, all the "ignorant motherfuckers" who haunt his past. "I'm still going up," he says, as if the possibilities of his new life were just occurring to him. "I've been through a lot but I'm not stopping. I still plan to go high."

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