CNET remains suspended, but likely to regroup

Investigation by state and federal officials coninues

The Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) remains suspended while local and state investigations continue after the arrest of some of its members, but is likely to regroup.

That's according to San Ramon Police Chief Scott Holder, who's force is part of the county's drug fighting team.

"We will remain in our current mode until the complete investigation is completed," Holder said today. "We are awaiting a report of an audit of the entire operation which is being completed by the Department of Justice."

In 2009 alone, CNET made 110 arrests. Seven of those arrests were in San Ramon, where CCNET served four search warrants; seized $125,464 in cash; along with 443 marijuana plants, 40 lbs. of marijuana and 24 MDMA tablets. Figures for CNET's work in Danville were not available.

"The net did some remarkable work over the past 25 years or so and it is not our intent to disband.," Holder said. "I feel confident once the dust settles we will re-group and be back to an operational unit again."

Three CNET officers, including its former commander, Norman Wielsch, Stephen Tanabe and Christopher Butler have been charged with selling some of the same drugs they confiscated. Wielsch, 49, and Tanabe, 47, have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy; selling methamphetamine, marijuana and steroids, and possessing methamphetamine, marijuana and steroids for sale.

According to attorneys on the case, Wielsch allegedly stole drugs from law enforcement evidence lockers and Butler arranged to sell them or have them sold.

Additional charges filed last week include new charges for Butler for allegedly conspiring with Tanabe to conduct "dirty DUI" arrests. In those cases, Butler allegedly hired attractive women to lure men to bars and get them drunk. He would then allegedly call Tanabe and have the men arrested for drunken driving as they were leaving, according to the complaint.

Prosecutors have dismissed 15 pending criminal cases and declined to file charges in five more cases involving so-called "dirty DUI" arrests.

The dismissed cases include three felony drug cases and a misdemeanor drug case investigated by the now suspended Central Contra Costa County Narcotic Enforcement Team; five felony prostitution cases and five misdemeanor prostitution cases also investigated by CNET; and five misdemeanor cases investigated by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's office.


Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 18, 2011 at 6:53 am

Who needs them? The whole War on Drugs is a huge waste of money and corrupts even the cops.

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