Former Motor City gangland luminary Walter (The Black Fox) Cason, one of Detroit’s biggest drug kingpins of the latter part of the Twentieth Century and the one-time ruler of the narcotics turf that birthed the legendary Black Mafia Family, was released from federal prison late last month. He walked free on October 30 after a nearly two-decade stay behind bars.The 67-year old Cason had been residing in a halfway house since the summer.

Back in the 1970s, Cason was a flashy Motown heroin czar, overseeing a vast distribution network on the city’s Southwest side in the shadow of the Ambassador Bridge that stretched into smoggy Downriver urban enclaves and old-school auto-factory towns like Ecorse, Inkster, Willow Run and River Rouge. He was incarcerated in 1978 upon his nephew and No. 1 enforcer Bobby Marshall, becoming a federal witness, admitting to his own role in at least two gangland murders and testifying against Cason and several of his organization’s employees. Harold Stinson, Cason’s alleged second-in-command, was slain on July 1, 1977.

Released from his first stint as a guest of the government in 1989, Cason returned to his old ways and reclaimed his throne in the Detroit dope game, only to fall prey to a DEA sting operation in the 1990s when a female undercover agent infiltrated his crew and became his girlfriend. As a result, the Black Fox, nicknamed for his suave fashion sense and savvy ways on the street, served the last 19 years boxed up in federal custody, convicted of heading another drug conspiracy and getting slammed by the judge as a repeat offender.

Cason’s Southwest side stomping grounds was where “BMF” founders Demetrius (Big Meech) Flenory and his younger brother Terry (Southwest T) Flenory started what became their 15-year run atop the wholesale drug business from humble beginnings on Edsel Street. Like Cason before him, Big Meech was known for flaunting his status and wealth as a crime lord.

The Flenory boys are both in the first half of 30-year bids in the big house, convicted in 2007 of running a massive, transcontinental cocaine-trafficking empire that was supplying giant chunks of America’s major metropolises with drugs and reaping hundreds of millions dollars in illegal revenue. Big Meech (47) and his baby bro, Southwest T (45), departed Detroit in the 1990s and set up BMF outposts in Atlanta and Los Angeles, respectively.

The Black Fox benefitted from goodwill in the community. His return has people talking.

“Walter Cason was one cool cat back in the day, as cool as the breeze” one Southwest Detroit resident said. “He looked out for the neighborhood, he dressed like a million bucks and got a lot of people jobs with his connections. If you got on his bad side though, he could go from 0-to-100 miles per hour in a blink of an eye. The man was about his money, he could get serious real quick. But he also put a bunch of guys’ kids through college, regular, neighborhood guys, not hustlers. Everyone around here is glad to see his face again.”

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