Two men plead guilty to drug charges connected to 2018 fatal Roanoke shooting, officials say

The Department of Justice said the shootout happened on July 10, 2018

ROANOKE, Va. – Two men said to be involved in a 2018 Roanoke City shooting pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday.

23-year-old Chad Custer and 28-year-old Aaron Woods pleaded guilty to charges related to a shooting that happened at an Eastern Avenue apartment on July 10, 2018, according to the Department of Justice.

Custer and Woods each pleaded guilty to the following, officials said:

  • One count of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of 100 kilograms or more of marijuana,
  • One count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

The DOJ said in May 2022, 24-year-old Darion Harvey also pleaded guilty to similar charges.

On July 10, a car with five people went to an Eastern Avenue apartment where a gun battle broke out, the DOJ said. Harvey, Woods, and Custer were on one side and there were more people on the other side, according to officials.

The DOJ said that four of the people ran from the scene, and another was driving away in a vehicle when he was fatally shot.

Officials said investigators recovered multiple firearms they say were used by Woods, Harvey, and Custer during the shooting, including high-powered, military-style rifles with laser sights along with several handguns and ammunition.

During the investigation, the DOJ said authorities found out that Woods, Harvey, Custer, and others used Woods’ apartment on Eastern Avenue as the base location for their large-scale distribution of marijuana. Officials said they used the location from late 2018 to around Aug. 2019.

Witnesses told police that customers would come to and go from the apartment around the clock buying marijuana from the people, who kept their loaded firearms in plain view, according to the DOJ.

Custer and Woods are now facing a sentence of 10 years to life in prison, officials said. Harvey was sentenced to 26 years in federal prison.

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Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.