Law enforcement scandal now includes ties to prostitution


New allegations have surfaced accusing a former Contra Costa County drug task force commander and one of his co-defendants of running a brothel in Pleasant Hill.

Former Central Contra Costa County Narcotic Task Force Cmdr. Norman Wielsch and Christopher Butler, a former Antioch police officer and private investigator, both 49, have been charged with conspiracy; selling methamphetamine, marijuana and steroids; and possessing methamphetamine, marijuana and steroids for sale.

Wielsch allegedly stole the drugs from law enforcement evidence lockers and Butler allegedly arranged to have them sold, according to court documents.

They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Two other defendants, former Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy Stephen Tanabe, 47, and San Ramon police Officer Louis Lombardi, 38, have also been charged in the case.

Wielsch's attorney Michael Cardoza said that within the past few weeks Butler allegedly gave law enforcement officials a 34-page document claiming that he and Wielsch were involved in running the alleged brothel, but he said the document was fiction.

"Norm Wielsch was not involved with running a brothel," Cardoza said. "Chris Butler has made up this fairy tale."

He said he believes Butler was running an alleged brothel by himself and dragged Wielsch's name into it to persuade prosecutors to offer him a reduced prison sentence in exchange for turning in dirty cops.

"Butler leased the property. He bought the furniture from IKEA. He brought it to the premises and put it together. He hired the girls. He collected the money," Cardoza said.

"He says he was forced to do it" because he was afraid of Wielsch, Cardoza said. "But if you know Butler, nobody forces him to do anything. He's a tough guy."

Cardoza added that when Wielsch was arrested, he confessed to the drug-related charges and cooperated with police without asking for a lawyer, but he never mentioned anything about prostitution "because it isn't true."

Butler may have named other police officers in the document he gave to investigators but not in connection with the brothel, Cardoza said.

Butler's attorney William Gagen could not be reached today for comment.

Contra Costa County Prosecutor Harold Jewett said today that he couldn't confirm any of the allegations related to prostitution. He explained that he couldn't comment on an ongoing investigation.

"We're going to follow this investigation wherever it leads," he said.

No charges related to prostitution have been filed, he said.

Pleasant Hill police also could not be reached for comment.


Like this comment
Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on May 12, 2011 at 4:47 pm

What in hell is going on with our police!!! Where does this stop???

What's next?

Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on May 13, 2011 at 10:18 am

I agree with Rick...

What the hell is going on with our law enforcement folks?. Other than the fact that they are human and some human's will take advantage of any weak link in our system to gain riches and power.

Look towards Washington D.C. and in fact you don't need to look that far to see scandals in our local governments.

It's a real mess and the worst thing about it is that a lot of folks that didn't mistrust the police are starting to move in that direction.

It's bad enough that our police have a dangerous job especially around the greater bay area, now the good folks of our communities are beginning to with some justification mistrust them.

Thanks for listening...Julia from Alamo

Like this comment
Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on May 13, 2011 at 10:56 am

All my friends in The City are now envious about the exciting life we lead out in these here 'burbs. I had no idea how edgy we are!

On another note, I wonder how many showers Mr. Gagen, Esq. has to take in an average day?

Like this comment
Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on May 14, 2011 at 8:36 am

Too much action going on here to be so invisible. How high up does this go?

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Danville
on May 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I find it fascinating that the Lawyer office of the Gagen group is within a stone's throw of THE VINE. The Vine is where some of the people where liquored up by PRO's and then arrested for DUI. All related to Butler the PI who Gagen represents. Would the Town fathers have allowed the small green park there become THE VINE ????? If they knew now the element that would come to town. Now the story of the brothel (Massage Parlor) in Pleasant Hill gets thrown into the DRUGS, weapons, DIRTY police mix.

May as well move to Auburn or Grass valley when the BIG city problems arrive.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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