WKGO-TV San Francisco - April 8, 2011
DANVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- More than a dozen criminal cases in contra Costa County have been dismissed because of a deepening scandal, and now new felony charges have been filed against an ex-Danville deputy. Most involve former Contra Costa Narcotics Task Force Commander Norman Wielsch. Wielsch and private investigator Christopher Butler each face more than 25 felony counts, accusing of selling methamphetamine, marijuana and other drugs taken from police evidence rooms. "The reason the CNET cases are being dismissed is because of the involvement of Norm Wielsch who is now pending criminal charges," Peterson said. The dismissals include five CNET task force drug cases, ten CNET prostitution cases and five Contra Costa sheriffs DUI and drug cases. The sheriff's cases all involve former deputy Stephen Tanabe who is accused of participating in a "dirty DUI" scheme with Butler. "He's out of custody, on bail on $260,000," Contra Costa prosecutor Jun Fernandez said. Prosecutors formally charged Tanabe with accepting bribes from Butler. Butler is accused of hiring attractive decoys to lure men into drinking at a Danville bar, part of a scheme to tarnish the men's' reputations in family court battles. Tanabe is also charged with conspiracy to sell steroids, along with Butler and Wielsch. In a recent interview with ABC7 News, Wielsch apologized. "I just want to say I'm very sorry to all my friends, my family, my agency and law enforcement in general," he said on April 1. Wielsch's attorney told ABC7 his client is saddened by the dismissal of so many CNET cases. All three men will be back in court on April 21.