According to multiple sources familiar with U.S. Immigration proceedings, it’s finally payback time for those still sore about how things went down three decades ago with several once highly-visible members of the Detroit, Michigan Iraqi Christian community currently slated for deportation back to Baghdad. U.S. Federal Judge Mark Goldsmith will issue an order on the constitutionality of deporting droves of Iraqi natives back to a country where they could be violently persecuted for their religious beliefs later this month.

President Trump’s hardline stance towards clearing the country’s immigration backlog has swept up more than 1,000 Iraqi Christians with criminal records, hundreds coming from Detroit, including a number of them associated with a bitterly-fought battle of wills in the late 1980s and early 1990s between federal and local law enforcement and an Iraqi crime syndicate in Southeast Michigan sometimes loosely referred to as the Chaldean mob. Still-lingering tensions have caused some of the federal agents involved in working the Iraqi Christian beat back at that rocky period of time to push hard for certain former targets of theirs who they feel got off light in their respective punishments from the U.S. justice system to be the first of the native Iraqis to be returned to their unstable homeland, per sources.

“Things were incredibly tense, incredibly personal,” said one retired member of federal law enforcement of the poor relations that existed between the proverbial cops and crooks in that world back then. “They weren’t fond of us and we weren’t fond of them, there was never any love lost….. you were never ‘just doing your job,’ it was taken to a whole other degree. It was an extreme situation…in a lot of cases, things were on a very emotionally-wired level from both ends of the spectrum, everything was heightened. I’m talking to the point where there were rumors, stories from informants floating around about these guys putting murder contracts on the heads of the police and similar rumblings that the police and prosecutors were putting murder contracts on the heads of some of the bigger fish we were after. That entire coke era in Detroit was insane and this was a slice of it. When you’re talking about cops, feds, these are the type of people with long-term memories and grudges they don’t let go of. Some people still want to jam these guys for that stuff and Trump has given them the opportunity.”

Guys like Lou Akrawi (seen above).

Lou Akrawi, the 69-year old reputed one-time Godfather of the Iraqi Christian community in Metro Detroit, was detained in May, just 16 months after he got out of state prison where he served a 20-year sentence for manslaughter. When he left Baghdad for America in 1968, Akrawi, an admitted communist and socialist, was marked for death by Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party and the Iraqi government for his part in a political coup and a failed assassination of Hussein in the months following the Baathists assuming power in the country.

Until late this week, the barrel-chested and famously-outspoken Akrawi had been on a hunger strike from his detention facility in Arizona since June 28, protesting his deportation and the fact that he was being isolated from the other Iraqi Christians in the facility. On Thursday, after more than two weeks without food or water, Akrawi, more than 20 pounds the lighter in weight, agreed at a court hearing to hydrate and consume daily vitamin supplements.

According to FBI and DEA records, from the 1970s into the 1990s Akrawi headed a vast network of Iraqi Christian criminals based in Northwest Detroit and the surrounding suburbs, with considerable interests in the area’s drug, gambling and extortion markets. His swaggering and handsome 25-year old nephew, surrogate son and alleged street boss, Harry Kalasho, was slain in a gangland hit in the winter of 1989.

Shortly after Kalasho was killed, Akrawi was indicted for racketeering and narcotics trafficking in state court along with Kalasho’s crew. While Akrawi was acquitted at trial in the case, the Kalasho crew was all convicted and received long prison sentences. Akrawi went away in 1996, held responsible for the death of an innocent bystander in a grocery-store shooting that Wayne County prosecutors put at Akrawi’s doorstep for ordering in retaliation for an attempt on his life the day prior. Since his release from state custody in late February 2016, Akrawi had been living quietly with his sister in Bloomfield Twp., Michigan, right outside of Detroit, and spending most of his time with his sons and grandsons at his eldest son’s espresso bar and café in Macomb County.

A pair of former Kalasho lieutenants Najah (Jaguar Nick) Konja and Hatum (Black Tim) Zakar were also recently detained and are scheduled to be deported with Akrawi. Konja and Zakar did 20 years in prison apiece and had been living on the straight-and-narrow in Metro Detroit over the last decade since their respective releases from prison. Another Kalasho confidant, Basam (Little Basil) Jarges, was deported back to Iraq eight years ago in the wake of finishing up his prison term and today lives in Dubai.

 

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