Magazine Divulges Drug-Ring Secrets

Thomasi McDonald, News & Observer (Raleigh), January 12, 2010

A magazine has hit the streets of the Triangle that discloses privileged information from a federal criminal investigation that sent a man to prison for life.

Some say Diamond Resort Magazine, which has sold about 1,000 copies at $10 apiece, is a tool to intimidate potential witnesses from testifying at criminal trials. The magazine reprints court documents including witness interviews and plea agreements, and it refers to “snitching” as violating the “code of the street.”

“People are already afraid to give information anonymously,” said Donna-maria Harris, whose 24-year-old son was one of four men murdered inside a West Durham townhouse five years ago. Harris was appalled when she found out information about her son’s death was in the magazine. “Now we have a magazine that’s printing information about who comes forward, with their names and pictures. To me it’s just one step above kiddie porn. It comes across as an intimidation tactic.”

The magazine’s publisher, Delora Croudy, 23, who lives in Wake County, said her motive is to scare young people straight.

“I’m giving it to you raw, without the sugar coating. This is reality,” Croudy said Monday. She said the magazine’s name “just came to me.”

Diamond Resort’s front cover features a photograph of Donald Stanton “Face” Shealey, 27, of Durham. In July, Judge James Fox sentenced Shealey in a New Hanover County federal court to life in prison for drug trafficking and money-laundering charges.

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Eleven people charged along with Shealey received sentences of less than 16 years. Federal court documents that appear in the magazine show that five of the co-defendants signed plea agreements.

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Shealey obtained the documents in the magazine from his attorney and gave them to his mother at the end of his trial. Croudy got the documents from Shealey’s mother.

Unlike arrest and search warrants, the documents are typically not available to the public or the media because they contain information about a criminal investigation.

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‘No rats on my block’

“FACE versus DEFENDANTS” reads the headline of the magazine’s lead story. “The Code Of The Street Is Dead,” reads a smaller headline. The magazine touts the First Commandment among criminals: “Thou Shalt Not Squeal.”

“Over 100 Names Mentioned In Statements. Is Your Name In There?” reads the bottom of the front cover. The magazine’s Web site sells T-shirts that say, “NO RATS ON MY BLOCK!”

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A relative’s anger

Donna-maria Harris said she was livid that Diamond Resort contains what she thought was confidential information about her stepson’s murder. While the magazine focuses on Shealey’s conviction, it also contains information about other crimes, including the quadruple killing in which Harris’ stepson perished.

“Our concern is that the information in the magazine may hinder an ongoing investigation,” Harris said. “People who may know stuff about our son’s death may be reluctant to come forward because apparently these documents can get out into the public.”

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