Belton Platt preaches regularly in the Charlotte area, telling people the value of faith and forgiveness. He is a living testament of that. In the early 1980’s, he went by the name Money Rock and was known as one of Charlotte’s largest cocaine dealers.
Platt was originally influenced by his father, who suggested he needed to start selling in order to make extra money.
“He taught me how to bag up cocaine,” Platt said. “He cut it, he bagged it up, and he pushed it across the table and said you sell this for $10, and you sell this $25.”
His mother Carrie Graves said she didn’t know for years it was going on, but when she found out, she was heartbroken.
“He said, ‘Mom, I’m a grown man and I know what I’m doing. I know the consequences of what I’m doing,’” she said.
Overnight, Platt watched his product spread into the hands of customers at the Piedmont Courts housing project. He hired a few guys and started selling at hours other dealers weren’t in the streets to avoid competition.
“All these customers were coming back at night and there was no one there to serve them,” he said. “And so what I would do is, I got a couple guys to work for me and I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to stay up all night.’”
Although Platt only got in the drug game to make money, there were other factors he wasn’t prepared for, like getting death threats and being caught up in shoot-outs. He wasn’t the only dealer in the Piedmont Courts housing projects and because, of his success, tension grew between him and the other dealers.
But violence didn’t stop Platt even after a shootout took place on Nov. 30, 1985 where seven people were shot. For him, it was a conversation with a customer that made Platt him turn his life around.
“She said, ‘Money Rock, you can do anything you want to do to me. Just give me some drugs.’ I believe that was the turning point for me,” he said.
Finally, Belton went to jail in 1989 for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and theft of government property. He spent the next 21 years behind bars. While in prison, three of his sons died, two of them to gun violence and one to suicide, grieving over his brother’s death.
“I know for a fact had I been out here, had I been the father I was supposed to be, my sons here. No one can tell me they would not be here,” he said.
Belton got out of prison April 27, 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. No longer Money Rock, he says his product now is God and mentoring the youth.
“I let young people know the importance of making the right choices,” he said.
The same hands that dealt are now used to heal.