Ex-Raleigh detective Omar Abdullah, accused of using fake heroin in drug cases, indicted

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ByJoel Brown via WTVD logo
Thursday, July 28, 2022
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Omar Abdullah, the ex-Raleigh police detective accused of framing dozens of young Black men in a fake heroin scheme, has been indicted for obstruction of justice.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Omar Abdullah, the ex-Raleigh police detective accused of framing dozens of young Black men in a fake heroin scheme, has been indicted for obstruction of justice.

The Grand Jury of Wake County indicted Abdullah on Tuesday with felony obstruction of justice. The indictment came after a lengthy investigation, District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said.

"From the beginning, we have taken the harm caused with great seriousness," Freeman told ABC11's Joel Brown. "The standard of criminal prosecution is different than that of civil liability and separate from administrative policy violations and carries a much higher burden. The State Bureau of Investigation and our office has worked diligently to adhere (to) this burden. Because this is a pending criminal matter now, our office has no further comment at this time."

Abdullah was fired from the Raleigh Police Department on Oct. 28, 2021.

In September 2021, attorneys for a group of men who said they were wrongfully arrested for heroin trafficking announced a $2 million settlement with the City of Raleigh as part of a federal civil rights lawsuit associated with Abdullah.

Abdullah was paying a confidential informant who promised to tip off officers to Raleigh heroin dealers. Instead, the district attorney said the informant returned with videos and audio recordings of drug buys with critical clips missing and a substance that lab tests revealed months later wasn't drugs at all.

Robin Mills' son, Marcus Vanirvin, was one of the men wrongfully arrested by Abdullah and RPD's Drug Unit; booked in jail on high-dollar bonds -- only to find out later they were framed with fake heroin from Abdullah's allegedly dishonest informant. Vanirvin's case is the only one mentioned in the indictment that alleges Abdullah lied to a judicial official about the fake drugs.

"Marcus didn't ask to be in this. Marcus is well, but literally, no Black man wants to be in the middle of this foolishness," said Mills.

She has been leading the community outrage over arrests. Her son is now out of jail, and his charges were dropped along with the other men.

"It's a problem. I'm disgusted," Mills said. "When we have over 15 black men who have been kidnapped and snatched off the streets and caged like slaves, and no one seems to care."

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Criminal justice reform activist Kerwin Pittman told ABC11 that the problem is bigger than one officer. He points to what he sees as systemic problems in local policing.

"My thoughts was what took so long," Pittman said about Abdullah's indictment. "Until the district attorney's office starts normalizing prosecution of police corruption in Wake County, we're not gonna see no change."

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