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Deputy arrested in connection with CNET scandal resigns

A Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy who was arrested last week in connection with a widening scandal involving a state narcotics enforcement team commander and a private investigator has resigned from his job, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Stephen Tanabe, a 47-year-old Alamo resident, was arrested March 4 on suspicion of possessing and transferring an illegal assault rifle and conspiracy to possess and sell controlled substances, sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said.

Tanabe had been with the sheriff's office for about four years and had been assigned to the patrol division in Danville, which contracts with

the sheriff's office for its police services, Lee said.

His arrest came as part of an investigation by the sheriff's office, the California Department of Justice and the Contra Costa County

District Attorney's Office into allegations that Norman Wielsch, the then-commander of the state-run Central Contra Costa County Narcotic

Enforcement Team, or CNET, had been stealing drugs from law enforcement evidence lockers.

Wielsch allegedly worked with Christopher Butler, a Concord-based private investigator, to sell them back out onto the streets, officials said.

Wielsch and Butler, both 49, were arrested Feb. 16. They have pleaded not guilty to 28 felony charges alleging that they conspired together

to possess and sell marijuana, methamphetamine and steroids.

According to an affidavit for a search warrant for Tanabe's residence, Tanabe appears to have been connected to the scandal through Butler, who allegedly worked with him to conduct so-called "dirty DUI" stops on clients' husbands to damage their reputations for upcoming legal battles.

On several occasions, Butler allegedly hired people to lure his targets to a local bar in Danville and get them drunk. He would then allegedly contact Tanabe, give him a description of the target and the target's vehicle and have Tanabe arrest him for drunken driving.

In one case, the target was cheating on his wife and Butler was allegedly looking to "'dirty him up' for a future court case," according to the affidavit.

In another case, investigators found that the target's wife had paid Butler $5,000 to investigate her husband's activities and Tanabe

allegedly told another deputy that the DUI arrest was "a set up".

Tanabe, who is free on $260,000 bail, has not yet been charged with any crime by the district attorney's office.

Wielsch and Butler, who are also out on bail, are scheduled to return to court April 21 to set a date for a preliminary hearing.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dqan
a resident of Danville
on Mar 14, 2011 at 9:45 am

There has to be a lawyer involved. Someone has to hire the PI


 +   Like this comment
Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on Mar 14, 2011 at 10:20 am

Sfgate article ID'd the attorney in two cases as Mary Nolan of San Ramon, who practices "family law", among other things. Here's her Bar page: Web Link

Q is: if there's no Bar discipline, will Ms. Nolan, Esq.'s business go down, or up?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by psmacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Mar 14, 2011 at 11:13 am

I'm surprised that there hasn't been more outcry within these DE comments sections about this very local criminal activity.
This is one of the worst police/legal abuses of our own local society that we've had happen here in years. And there is nothing worse than injustice and corruption from "within" the legal and judicial system.
Wonder how many "Dads" and custody cases have been impacted by these tactics? How many relationships with their children (and children's future development) has been hurt as a consequence of these dirty stings? Less time with a caring natural father-figure in their life.

I'm surprised that there hasn't been more OUTCRY within these DE comments sections about this very local criminal activity.
This is one of the worst police/legal abuses of our own local society that we've had happen here in years. And there is nothing worse than injustice and corruption from "within" the legal and judicial system.
Wonder how many "Dads" and custody cases have been impacted by these tactics? How many relationships with their children (and children's future development) has been hurt as a consequence of these dirty stings? Less time with a caring natural father-figure in their life.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by psmacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Mar 14, 2011 at 11:15 am

There is a fuller write-up of these criminals, their activities, and their connections, including a video of the Concord PI and local women agents on TV, at:
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Barney
a resident of Danville
on Mar 14, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I hope that as they dig into this, they assign enough resource to uncover all the wrong doing here. I agree that this is one of the greatest abuses of position and power we've seen in many years. Great story for 20/20


 +   Like this comment
Posted by granny
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I truly hope all attorneys, police, and legal systems person are held accountable and prosicuted as well. Any one setting up someone should be illegal.I am alleging to be one of the people Butler was hired to follow, my home has been broken into, bugged ransacked you name it. Hope he gets what he deserves.


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