For Immediate Release
Roanoke Drug Dealer Involved in Eastern Avenue Gunfight Sentenced to 26 Years in Prison
ROANOKE, Va. – A Goodview, Virginia man who was involved in a fatal shooting at an Eastern Avenue drug house in the City of Roanoke was sentenced today to 26 Years in federal prison for his role in a drug distribution conspiracy and discharging a firearm.
Darion Mantez Harvey, 23, pled guilty in May 2021 to one count of possessing with the intent to distribute and distributing 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and one count of possessing and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug related crime.
“Drug trafficking and violent crime often go hand in hand, and my Office continues to vigorously prosecute those who use firearms to threaten the safety and security of the citizens of the Western District of Virginia,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “Armed drug dealers contribute significantly to the increased level of gun violence and death in our communities, and I am grateful to both ATF and Roanoke City Police Department for their partnership and tireless efforts to the Roanoke community in this case.”
“Today’s results are a culmination of great collaborative efforts and investigative expertise in illegal firearm possession and narcotics distribution. The activities surrounding this case were detrimental to our community and as a result, a life was lost due to senseless violence. ATF will remain vigilant as we continue to work with our local, state and federal partners in the fight to combat violent crime and maintain public safety,” said ATF Washington Field Division Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson.
“This investigation was difficult and lengthy, but we are glad we could work with our partners at the state, local, and federal level to achieve this outcome,” said Roanoke Police Chief Sam Roman. “Gun violence is often a companion to drug trafficking, and this is an unfortunate result of that pairing. This sentencing will never compensate for the loss of a life, but we hope it brings some comfort to the victim’s loved ones. Violent crime has no place in Roanoke. The members of the Roanoke Police Department are committed to doing all we can to identify those who are perpetrating violent crime in our community and hold them accountable for their actions.”
According to court documents, in October 2018, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) began investigating a drug trafficking organization involving Aaron Lee Woods and his associates, including Harvey.
During the course of the investigation, authorities learned that Woods, Harvey, and other co-conspirators used Woods’ apartment at 1642 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 between Harvey, Woods, and another co-defendant, Chad Matthew Custer, on one side and the newly arrived individuals on the other. While four of the individuals fled on foot, the fifth jumped back into his car and sped away to escape the spray of bullets being fired from inside the apartment. Of the many bullets striking neighboring houses and vehicles, one pierced the window of the escaping vehicle and shattered the back of the fifth individual’s skull, killing him.
Investigators recovered multiple firearms used by Woods, Harvey and Custer during the shootout, including high-powered, military-style rifles with laser sights and multiple handguns.
Co-defendants Woods and Custer are set for their trial by jury on October 24-28, 2022.
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 Matthew Miller, Kari K. Munro, and Charlene R. Day prosecuted the case for the United States.