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At the time of the robbery, Mike "Libretto" Jackson had been out of work for a year and a half. His unemployment checks were running out, and whatever money he was earning as one of Portland's most prominent rappers wasn't enough for him to continue keeping the lights on, or providing for his family. When an acquaintance called him to visit New York, the original idea was to run some guns up from South Carolina to sell on the black market. Then a more lucrative opportunity came through. Jackson is cagey about the details, but it involved a heist on an immigrant-owned business operating as a front to wire cash back to Africa.

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