Two more arrested in Roanoke 'fast food operation for marijuana,' facing federal charges

Distribution activity allegedly led to man being shot dead

By Jeff Williamson - Digital Content Manager, Samantha Smith - Digital Content Producer

ROANOKE, Va. - UPDATE 

Two more men have been charged in what federal authorities are calling "a fast food operation for marijuana" operating out of Roanoke. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Chad Custer and Darion Harvey conspired with several others to run a marijuana operation out of a rented, Eastern Avenue home. They are facing federal drug and gun charges. 

United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen made the announcement today as part of the Western District of Virginia’s ongoing Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative to reduce drug and violent crime. 


ORIGINAL STORY

The man at the center of what federal authorities called "a fast food operation for marijuana" operating out of Roanoke is now in custody.

United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced Thursday that Aaron Lee Woods was arrested on a federal criminal complaint last week and charged with crimes related to federal drug trafficking and firearms offenses.

Woods and others not named in court documents were involved in a conspiracy since at least 2017 to distribute large amounts of marijuana in the Roanoke Valley, according to the criminal complaint.

At times, Woods operated out of the home he leased on Eastern Avenue, according to Cullen.

Witnesses described regularly seeing a steady stream of marijuana purchases at the house during the afternoon and evening hours.  

A dozen or more people, on average, would stop in to buy marijuana from large vacuum-sealed bags that Woods kept on the coffee table in the living room while others played video games and socialized, according to the complaint.

Witnesses also told law enforcement that firearms were frequently in view in the residence, on tables or leaning against the wall during periods of peak distribution.

The complaint alleges that the distribution activity culminated in the shooting death of Jacob Aldridge on July 10, 2018, at the Eastern Avenue address.

Witnesses told authorities that three prospective marijuana purchasers who left the residence empty-handed earlier in the day returned at about 9:45 p.m.  

Witnesses said that something like a brick came through the front glass window, at which point two-way gunfire ensued.  

Woods, and others, began shooting from inside and in front of the residence.  

During the shootout, Aldridge was shot in the head and neck and killed during an apparent attempt to flee the scene.

Woods and others fled his Eastern Avenue residence following the shooting. 

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