RALEIGH, N.C. — 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."