News Release
July 15, 2009
Contact: Chuvalo J. Truesdell
Number: 404-893-7124

Face Mob Family Member Sentenced to Life; More Defendants to Follow

JUL 15 -- WILMINGTON, NC - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today, Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox sentenced DONALD SANTON SHEALEY, also known as, “Face,” and “Face Diddy,” in an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Operation (OCDETF) investigation entitled Operation Face Off, to a term of life imprisonment, ten years of supervised release, and a $5,000,000.00 fine. A restitution hearing will be held at a later date.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Superseding Criminal Indictment on January 15, 2009. After a 21-day trial, a jury convicted SHEALEY of all eight charges on March 24, 2009.

The investigation centered around SHEALEY’s leadership of a violent Raleigh/Durham based drug organization known as the Face Mob Family, which was responsible for the multi-kilogram distribution of heroin, cocaine, and cocaine base. Drug Enforcement Administration agents utilized a Title III wiretap in the investigation. During the Title III investigation, agents intercepted coded conversations indicating SHEALEY and a drug source in Atlanta, Georgia, arranged for the delivery of a large sum of U.S. currency in exchange for a kilogram of heroin. Law enforcement agents arrested SHEALEY’s courier and seized $66,950.00. Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and local law enforcement agents executed multiple search warrants during the investigation and seized a total of $144,920.00, over a kilogram of heroin, 11 firearms, and high-end vehicles.

At trial, evidence was presented that SHEALEY was responsible for the possession and sell of over 8,678 grams of cocaine base, 27,000 grams of cocaine, 36.2 kilograms of marijuana, and 17,918 grams of heroin.

Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the DEA Atlanta Field Division (AFD) commented, "The government has successfully dismantled a violent and notorious drug trafficking organization. The Face Mob Family wreaked havoc in the Triangle area by distributing cocaine, crack and heroin. In doing so, they left a destructive path of violence along the way. This defendant is deserving of this lengthy sentence. Through the concerted efforts of our federal, state and local law enforcement counterparts, we were able to successfully investigate, prosecute and remove this violent criminal from the street."

Mr. Holding commented, “I would like to commend all local, state, and federal agencies involved in the taking down of this violent organization. We will continue to work together to seek out and eliminate organizations such as this one, making our communities in the Eastern District safe. We are pleased with the sentence imposed today.”

Jeannine A. Hammett, Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Office of the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigations Division, said, “This case is proof of the great work that is accomplished when local, state and federal agencies work together. This violent drug organization will no longer terrorize the communities of Raleigh and Durham.”

“We’ve been able to dismantle this violent drug trafficking organization thanks to strong teamwork by local, state and federal law enforcement. Our SBI agents will keep up their good investigative work to shut down drug rings that threaten the safety of the people of our state,” stated North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

“Everyone who worked on the investigation of this case and the successful prosecutions of the charged suspects is to be commended,” said Raleigh Chief of Police Harry P. Dolan. “I am very proud of the contributions members of my department made throughout the case and grateful for the cooperative working relationship with local, state and federal agencies that made possible such outstanding results on behalf of the public we all serve.”

Nine co-defendants, Salahudeen Abdallah, Khalid Abdallah, Jamal Watson, Tyrone Lawrence, Timothy Hargrove, Gilbert Sherwood, Laketa Smith, Samara Scott, and Shawn Brown will be sentenced at a later date to be determined by the Court.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations Division, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Raleigh Police Department, and the Durham Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael G. James and Denise Walker are the assigned prosecutors.

DEA’s SAC Benson encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at and