The U.S. Department of Justice says a Highway Patrol trooper from Browns Summit sold decommissioned firearms, often from the trunk of his patrol car while on duty.
Trooper Timothy Jay Norman, 47, is accused of selling some of those firearms to 33-year-old felon Tommy Lee Hudson of Reidsville, someone Norman had known since they both graduated from basic law enforcement training in 2010, the DOJ said in court documents.
Norman faces 10 years in prison if convicted.
Both were arrested Wednesday and appeared in federal court in Greensboro.
Norman is charged with unlawful transfer of a firearm to a prohibited person. Hudson is charged with possessing a gun after being convicted of a felony. Both are next due in court on July 14.
The Highway Patrol told WFMY-Channel 2 that Norman, who had been with the department since 2012, resigned the day he was arrested.
An affidavit attached to the DOJ’s criminal complaint details the months-long investigation into weapons sales.
Authorities were first tipped off to potential illegal activities in January by a confidential informant working on a drug investigation with narcotics detectives at the Raleigh Police Department.
Hudson, who was convicted in Rockingham County in 2016 for felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, offered to introduce the informant to Norman, whom he described as his source for buying ammunition and firearms, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit included a series of text messages between the informant and Hudson, dating to Jan. 27, as evidence the weapons were for sale. Authorities traced at least four Sig Sauer pistols purchased by Norman from Lawmen’s Distribution LLC in Raleigh.
Conversations between Hudson and Norman overheard by the informant weren’t all related to weapons dealings.
According to the affidavit, Hudson called Norman on March 25 in front of the informant and put the call on speaker. During the recorded conversation, which centered on the purchase of guns, Hudson also asked Norman if he could help him get out of a recent traffic ticket. Norman responded, “I probably can,” the affidavit shows.
In a conversation between Hudson and the informant on April 16, Hudson said he and Norman partied and used marijuana and cocaine together before Norman became a trooper, the affidavit shows. The pair also worked together at a private security company after attending basic law enforcement training together, according to the affidavit.
Hudson told the informant that he’d bought “many firearms” from Norman, and he’d done so while the trooper was on duty in his patrol car and in uniform, according to the affidavit. Hudson also said he didn’t know of any other cop that would “sell a felon a gun.”
On June 8, the FBI watched a “controlled firearms purchase” unfold between the informant and Hudson and Norman. Using FBI case funds, the informant bought $3,200 worth of weapons and ammunition.
Authorities monitored another controlled firearm purchase on June 24. Norman, wearing his uniform and driving his patrol car, met the informant at a gas station. Norman sold the informant a semiautomatic pistol from the trunk of his vehicle, according to the affidavit.
Staff Writer Kenwyn Caranna contributed to this article.