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Judge: Not available
Court: United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia (Roanoke County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Roanoke
Description: Roanoke, Virginia criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with shootings and related drug trafficking activities.
Aaron Lee Woods, 28, pleaded guilty to one count each of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of 100 kilograms or more of marijuana as well as one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
A third man, Darion Mantez Harvey was sentenced to 26 years in federal prison in May 2022 for related conduct.
According to court documents, in October 2018, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) began investigating a drug trafficking organization involving Woods, Custer, and Harvey.
During the course of the investigation, authorities learned that Woods, Harvey, Custer, and other co-conspirators used Woods’ apartment on Eastern Avenue as the primary site for their large-scale distribution of marijuana in the Roanoke Valley from late 2017 through approximately August 2019. Witnesses told police that customers would stream in and out of the apartment at all hours of the day and night buying marijuana from the defendants, who kept their loaded firearms in plain view.
In the early evening hours of July 10, 2018, a car containing five individuals arrived at the Eastern Avenue apartment where a gun battle broke out with Harvey, Woods, and Custer on one side and the newly-arrived individuals on the other. While four of the individuals fled on foot, a fifth individual was in a vehicle driving away from the scene when a bullet struck him in the back of the head and killed him.
Investigators recovered multiple firearms used by Woods, Harvey, and Custer during the shootout, including high-powered, military-style rifles with laser sights as well as multiple handguns and ammunition.
United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh, Special Agent in Charge Craig B. Kailimai of the Washington Division and Roanoke Police Chief Sam Roman made the announcement today.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the City of Roanoke Police Department investigated the case, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charlene R. Day, and Matthew M. Miller prosecuted the case for the United States.
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 20 years in prison.