Ed Bedford 12:18 p.m., May 22
Chaldeans Rejoice in Wake of Operation Shadowbox; Federal Raid on Drug Ring Operated Out of El Cajon Social Club Cements Iraqi Community’s Status as Next Great Catholic Immigant Gangster Ethnicity
Italy, Ireland, the Isthmus...Iraq?
CHALDEAN SOCIAL CLUB “TEA ROOM,” El CAJON – “For years, we have been regarded as hardworking, clean-living refugees who keep to ourselves and try to stay out of trouble,” said Asser Asserbaj, a Chaldean who has lived in the United States since Tuesday. “We might as well have been invisible, or Canadian.” He sipped his “tea” – a potent brew made from high-grade coca leaves – and smiled at his joke. “But now, “ he says, “things are different." They are different, of course, because of the recent raid by Federal authorities on the club, a raid which resulted in 60 arrests and the seizure of money, drugs, and guns connected to a Chaldean organized crime syndicate run out of Detroit.
“Today,” continued Asserbaj, “we have taken our place among the truly significant immigrant peoples in this country: the ones who spread violence and suffering, and who star in major motion pictures. Today, we have joined the ranks of the Public Enemy, of the Godfather, of Scarface. We have become part of the American story, a story of the poor and powerless rising up to become ruthless, indulgent kingpins endowed with terrifying power and wealth that is the envy of the entire world. Today, I am proud to be a Chaldean…American."