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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Thursday - June 16, 2005

WILMINGTON - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced that MUHAMMED MAHDEE ABDULLAH and CURTIS BURSTON, JR. were sentenced in federal court in Wilmington on Tuesday, June 14, 2005, for conspiracy and drug trafficking.

Senior U. S. District Judge James C. Fox sentenced ABDULLAH(a/k/a "Frankie," "Muhammed Madee Abdullah," "Stephen Young," and "Madee Abudullah") to 400 months imprisonment and 10 years of supervised release. BURSTON (a/k/a "Black," "David Smith," and "Melvin Roberts") received a sentence of 360 months imprisonment and 10 years of supervised release. Also, both men will forfeit to the United States the proceeds and property they obtained as a result of their offenses, including $80,000.00, a 1997 Volvo, and a 2001 Ford Expedition.

MUHAMMED, 40, of Raleigh, N. C., and BURSTON, 37, of Enfield, N. C., were indicted by a federal grand jury in Raleigh on December 1, 2004, and charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base (crack) and 500 grams of cocaine and one count of cocaine distribution. Also, BURSTON was charged with using a communications facility, a telephone, to facilitate the conspiracy. Following a three-day jury trial in Wilmington, both men were convicted as charged on March 2, 2005.

This case resulted from an EASTFORCE investigation, code-named "Project Madcat." EASTFORCE is a drug task force program developed by the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina, which utilizes a team approach among federal, state, and local law enforcement to target the most significant drug traffickers/organizations in the Eastern District's 44 counties.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Raleigh Police Department. Assistant U. S. Attorney Kimberly A. Moore prosecuted the case for the United States.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney's web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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