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Press Release

Major Raleigh Heroin Trafficker Who Intimidated Witnesses Sentenced to 40 Years in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

Raleigh, N.C. – Ahmad Rashad McClain, a/k/a “Wop,” a longtime resident of Raleigh, was sentenced to 480 months in prison for trafficking heroin after attempting to intimidate witnesses. On June 8, 2022, Ahmad Rashad McClain pled guilty to two counts of drug trafficking.

“Tampering with witnesses and attempted intimidation is a sure-fire way to extend your stay in federal prison,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “Heroin traffickers like McClain drive addiction in our city and will do anything to dodge accountability. We are turbocharging our partnership with the Raleigh Police Department to get these dangerous narcotics – and those who supply them – off the streets.”

According to court documents and other information presented in court, McClain, age 47, was determined by Raleigh Police Department (RPD) in late 2021 to be a major distributor of heroin in the Raleigh area. This was determined by physical and electronic surveillance, the use of confidential informants, and statements from witnesses.

 On June 8, 2022, a traffic stop was made on a vehicle driven by McClain, who was later transported to his residence where a search warrant was executed. McClain was found to be in possession of heroin mixed with protonitazene and marijuana, various drug paraphernalia, and over $15,000 in cash.

As part of the investigation, witnesses provided RPD with information demonstrating that McClain was accountable for distributing over 24,000 grams of heroin over a two-year period.

The Government argued for and received an enhanced sentence because McClain was found to be intimidating witnesses before sentencing.

In five calls recorded between March 1 and March 29, McClain directed an associate to contact two confidential informants expected to provide evidence at his sentencing hearing.

Although McClain and the associate used code, it was clear from the calls that McClain was directing him to approach, or have someone else approach, the witnesses to ensure they did not testify, discussing during the calls that the Government could not tie drug weight to him without their testimony. In one call, McClain directed the associate to “…shut them arcade games off.” In another, McClain said, “Yeah, without they testimony, they… can’t do s#!@…” The associate confirmed, “You ain’t got to worry about seeing them anyway…” In many of the calls, the associate confirmed that he or one of his “boys” had made contact with the witnesses.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by Judge James C. Dever III. The Raleigh Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey L. Peaden  prosecuted the case.

This investigation was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:23-cr-00042-BO-RJ.


Updated July 16, 2024

Drug Trafficking