Local News

Agents: Leaders of 'Face Mob Family' arrested

Posted November 6, 2008

— Local and national law enforcement arrested eight people believed to be part of the "Face Mob Family," a major drug-trafficking group in the Triangle.

The six-month investigation, described by agents as "intense," took aim at what U.S. Attorney George Holding called "one of the most violent drug-trafficking organizations in North Carolina."

"We dismantled the leadership in an extremely violent gang that used a popular form of music to glorify its criminal activity," said Special Agent in Charge Nathan Gray, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Hopefully, people in the Triangle will feel a little safer in their own homes."

A federal grand jury indicted eight people on charges of conspiring to possess with intent to sell and distribute more than 1 kilo of heroin, 5 kilos of cocaine and 50 grams of crack cocaine.

Those indicted include:

  • Gilbert Ernesto Sherwood, 33, of Durham
  • Donald Stanton Shealey, 30, of Raleigh
  • Jamal Monta Watson, 30, of Greensboro
  • Salahudeen Abdul Abdallah, 23, of Durham
  • “Khalid” Usama Abdallah, 29, of Durham
  • Tyrone Ricardo Lawrence, 32, of Raleigh
  • Timothy Lamong Hargrove, 30, of Raleigh

The identity of the eighth person charged remains under seal. Three other people face state drug charges.

Shealey, Watson – who was listed as an absconder from probation – and Khalid Abdallah face additional charges of drug and heroin distribution. Shealey, Khalid Abdallah and Lawrence were on probation.

They, along with Lawrence and Hargrove, have extensive criminal records, with the majority of convictions in Durham County.

The arrests amount to "a devastating blow against this violent drug distribution network," Rodney Benson, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Atlanta.

Investigators seized 2 pounds of heroin, with an estimated street value of $295,000; approximately $150,000 in U.S. currency; 17 firearms; and six high-end vehicles, including two classic cars. Agents searched multiple residences and used a court-authorized wiretap.

The cooperation among the FBI, Raleigh and Durham police departments and State Bureau of Investigation is an example of what's needed to fight organized crime today, officials said.

"Crime today is a very regional activity and is not isolated to a certain jurisdiction," Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said. "The criminal element needs to understand that law enforcement is organized and we work in collaboration with each other."


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  • beachboater Nov 7, 2008

    2 points for the good guys. errrrrrrrrr 8 points.

  • ncwebguy Nov 7, 2008

    I agree with the fact that this seems to be a small quantitiy for this large of an area. How much of a dent this puts in the drug trade depends on the amount of oragziation among the mid-level players. If police let them regroup only to have new gang leaders to go after, this was a waste. The parallels to Afghanistan are eerie.

    As for Yokel, the *drugs* don't do the damage, the dealers and pushers do. To continue your vehicle analogy, for cars to be as dangerous as cars, Ford, Honda, and other car dealers (and gas stations) would have to be well-armed and shoot at anyone not loyal to their brand. They would run all other businesses out of the neighborhood, infecting it with a mob of junkies who will do anything to get their next fix.

    Luckily that doesn't happen, though the downturn in the automotive industry could lead to similar measures taken. Maybe we'll here a rap version of "have you driven a Ford lately?" as some broncos shoot up some escalades in a drive-by?

  • LocalYokel Nov 7, 2008

    Drug traffic is a made up crime by the government - a scapegoat. Government would like us to think drugs are the root of all evil and they waste a lot of resources 'fighting' them. They like to advertise arrests like this face mob to make us feel like they are doing good things. In reality, drug laws are based in racism and drug problems are not a law enforcement issue at all - they are a mental health issue. What has the drug war accomplished? are we winning? Its a fact that bad drivers kill, injure, and cause more property damage than illegal drugs ever will. Bad drivers are much more likely to affect people than a drug dealer. Over 41,000 people will die in car accidents this year in the USA and many more will become injured and inconvenienced.

  • Justin T. Nov 7, 2008

    Good job LEO. None on you guys, you are doing exactly what the citizens need. Getting these thugs off the street will indeed make us all safer.

    That said... this is a relatively small amount of drugs. I would have expected to see them get caught with 10 times that amount since they are being portrayed as some big time drug cartel.

    All I'm saying is that maybe, just maybe the media likes to make hay. The amount of drugs makes them look pretty small time to me.

  • catt356 Nov 7, 2008

    Go fight real crimes? Get a little more educated Local? Drug trafficking affects everyone. Those that rob someone or steal something are doing it to support more drug sales or usage. Those that commit break-ins do it to again support the drug trade. The drug trade affects every single aspect of criminal behavior in almost every instance. Drug dealers of this caliber distribute large quantities of heroin that end up in our schools or on our street corners! GOOD JOB guys there is at least one person out there that thinks arresting major drug traffickers is a good thing (violations of drug law are REAL crimes). Keep up the good work and let someone else worry about writing tickets....

  • SOCLOSE Nov 6, 2008

    These 7 men will only be replaced by 7 others waiting for this position. The cycle will not end until we get to the real culprits; the ones bringing the drugs into our country. But, this is good start. Please keep up the good work.

  • LocalYokel Nov 6, 2008

    I would feel safer if traffic laws were enforced. Go fight real crimes that affect everyone and we will be much better off.

  • teacher-mom Nov 6, 2008


  • ChristaS Nov 6, 2008

    good...........more trash swept off the streets..........keep up the good work!