Two aspects of the case in which Wilkes Correctional Center employee Michael Todd Holloway has been arrested on federal felony firearm offenses are especially disturbing.

First, Holloway is charged with selling two assault-style rifles and two handguns in March to a man he admitted knowing was a convicted felon because the man was an inmate where Holloway worked (Wilkes Correctional Center) after being convicted of armed robbery. Holloway also said he believed the ex-inmate who bought the guns was a member of the Bloods gang.

The ex-inmate said he used one of the handguns, a .40-caliber pistol, in one of two robberies of meth from drug traffickers this year. These incidents occurred in Ashe County.

The same ex-inmate was involved in an incident in Wilkes in which a vehicle was hit with gunfire.

The ex-inmate said Holloway was also the source of two assault-style rifles he sold to a Brevard man with a felony record.

Second, Holloway was hired as a correctional officer at the Wilkes Correctional Center in 2005, even though he was convicted of the felony offense of assault with deadly weapon with intent to kill in 1980.

The N.C. Administrative Code, which governs state agencies, boards and commissions, clearly says a person who has been convicted of a felony can’t serve as a correctional officer.

Holloway was promoted to food service officer at the Wilkes Correctional Center in June 2012. According to a media spokesman for the N.C. Department of Public Safety, he was still employed there even though he was in federal custody in Charlotte late this week.

Holloway, of North Wilkesboro, is charged with possessing firearms while being a convicted felon, selling firearms to a known convicted felon and “making materially false official statements.”

Details of the case are from an affidavit written by a U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent in support of the charges filed against Holloway, of North Wilkesboro, last week.

Articles in the Charlotte Observer in 2017 about people being hired as N.C. correctional officers despite their criminal records prompted a review of hiring practices in the state prison system.

Apparently whatever action this led to wasn’t enough.

A convicted felon working in a state prison and selling firearms to someone he knows was convicted of a violent crime while armed - and on top of that is a suspected gang member - should be enough to prompt a more comprehensive look at the system and subsequent major changes.

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