The shooting death of a Salem teenager last year prompted a federal investigation into a regional marijuana ring, new court records show.
Investigators have named one of at least three people they believe were involved in a July 2018 shooting that killed 19-year-old Jacob Aldridge during what they’re calling a failed drug deal.
Aaron Lee Woods, 25 of Roanoke was charged last week with conspiracy to distribute marijuana and use of a firearm in drug trafficking. Woods appeared briefly in federal court Wednesday.
No one is currently facing murder charges in Aldridge’s death.
“Woods and his associates have been responsible since 2017 for selling large quantities of marijuana in and around the Roanoke Valley,” the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives alleges in a criminal complaint filed last week. The agency opened the investigation in October 2018.
Woods ran a northeast Roanoke house that functioned “like a fast food operation for marijuana,” the complaint says. On any given day, a dozen people would stop to buy marijuana, while other young people would smoke pot and play video games. Woods kept marijuana in pound-sized vacuum-sealed bags on a coffee table. Firearms were sometimes kept in a kitchen safe, the complaint says.
The house on Eastern Avenue has been the site of two fatal shootings.
In November 2017, Morgan Nino Stamper-Dizon was shot by a resident when police say Stamper-Dizon tried to rob the home.
Less than a year later, Aldridge, referred to only as Subject 1 in the complaint, was killed.
On the afternoon of July 10, 2018, Aldridge and two acquaintances arrived at the house to buy marijuana, the complaint says.
Woods and another person demanded to see money before handing over the drugs. Aldridge and his two friends demanded to see the drugs before handing over money.
The court records say “the transaction was unsuccessful,” and the trio left.
Aldridge and two friends returned shortly before 10 p.m. in a gold Mercedes with its headlights out, the complaint says.
A brick or similar object came flying through a window and into the living room of the Eastern Avenue house, and Woods and two other people started shooting from inside. Other unidentified people returned fire from a vehicle. The complaint isn’t clear about whether shots came from the Mercedes or from a different car.
Aldridge was shot in the head and neck as he tried to drive away. The Mercedes crashed a few blocks away.
Three days later, Woods was arrested in Bedford County after officers found about 2 pounds of marijuana in a car. A trial in that case is set for November in Bedford County Circuit Court.
Woods is being held in the Roanoke City Jail. His lawyer said he could not comment.
A Roanoke police spokeswoman said Thursday that police continue to investigate Aldridge’s death.
A recent and unrelated killing in Roanoke appears to have helped law enforcement agents in the case against Woods.
The shooting of 16-year-old Tyler Polumbo of Roanoke in May prompted “more witnesses discussing Woods’ continued involvement in the distribution of marijuana,” court papers say.
Demarcus Shaiquan Glenn is charged with murder in that case. At a court hearing in July, a witness said a dealer came to Polumbo’s house to sell 2 ounces of marijuana for about $300.
After a dispute, the dealer shot Polumbo dead.