Documents released Thursday show Sherrod Peace, 35, pleaded guilty to having a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. A charge that he distributed less than 5 grams of crack was dropped.
While Peace pleaded guilty to federal charges, multiple sources have told ABC11 that Durham officials were first alerted about Peace's activities and immediately launched an internal probe after learning he was allegedly distributing drugs out of his patrol car.
The Durham Police Department said in January it investigated Peace with assistance from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
Peace joined the Durham Police Department in 2003 and was assigned to the Uniform Patrol Bureau. He resigned on December 31. In college, Peace was a defensive lineman for the UNC-Chapel Hill football team in 1998 and 1999.
The plea agreement calls for Peace to serve at least 5 years in prison and pay up to a $250,000 fine.
Sentencing is set for later this year.