April 29, 2020 — Former Detroit drug kingpin Felix (The Cat) Walls walked out of prison over the weekend, tasting freedom for the first time in 26 years. He’d been serving his time in a federal correctional facility in Arkansas and is expected to live with family members in Milwaukee to finish off his parole.

The 78-year old Walls was granted relief from his life sentence via the Trump administration’s First Step Act legislation allowing resentencing opportunities for non-violent offenders. He left federal custody last Friday.

For decades, Walls was known on the streets of Motown as a business-savvy boss who was more than capable with his hands. Towards the end of his reign, “youngfellas” and old heads alike respected him for the fact that he had finessed his way through multiple bloody decades of the city’s drug trade by being smart, personable and the definition of an underworld statesman.

When Felix the Cat came on the scene in the 1970s, it was all about heroin, but by the 1980s, everything changed to cocaine. It didn’t matter, Walls simply adapted, displaying a knack for networking with other criminals and criminal factions and expanding his list of contacts and rackets. He also diversified and invested heavily in real estate.

Despite intense, widespread violence during both storied eras of the Motor City dope world he operated in, the streets never got Felix the Cat. On the other hand, the feds eventually did.

In August 1994, Walls was convicted at trial in federal court for his role in leading a cocaine-trafficking conspiracy. He had the conviction tossed on appeal and was found guilty at a retrial where he went “pro per,” deciding to represent himself as his own attorney.

Walls’ partner in the coke game was Feodies (Yellow Man) Shipp, the Motor City’s so-called “Gangster of Love,” famous for talking loud, romancing powerful women and running a collection of open-air flea markets catering to a mix of legitimate trinket salesmen and drug pushers peddling their wares in exchange for a house fee. Shipp wound up dead – his throat cut – in the summer of 1992, while in federal protection inside a suite at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan.

According to federal records, Shipp and Walls were receiving financing in their drug ring from an associate of the Detroit mafia connected to the notorious Giacalone crew. FBI surveillance logs note meetings between Walls and mob capo Vito (Billy Jack) Giacalone.

Members of the Detroit mafia, including Billy Jack and his brother, Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone, the longtime Tocco-Zerilli crime family street boss, were attending a party at the Ritz-Carlton the night Shipp was killed in July 1992. The Giacalone brothers died of natural causes (Tony in ’01, Billy in ’12), the top two suspects in the iconic disappearance and murder of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa back in 1975.

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