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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Police Corruption Case Grows

Corruption Case Hits San Ramon PD
NBC Bay Area by Lori Preuitt and Jodi Hernandez - May 4, 2011

A police corruption case in CoCo county spill into the San Ramon police department.

A case involving alleged police corruption in Contra Costa County has expanded to the San Ramon police department. San Ramon Police Chief Scott Holder said one of his officers, Louis Lombardi, was arrested Wednesday morning. Lombardi is a former officer of Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team. Holder said they believe that Lombardi is involved in a drug scheme that began to unravel in March. "We are all saddened by the actions of our officer yet we remain focused on continuing to be the professional organization we have been and will continue to be," Holder said. In March, three people were accused in a corruption case that included charges of stealing drug evidence and setting up fake DUI arrests. In March, criminal charges were filed against former Contra Costa County Sheriff's Deputy Stephen Tanabe, former Narcotic Enforcement Team (CNET) Commander Norman Wielsch and private investigator Christopher Butler who investigators claim were all involved in criminal acts. Chief Holder said Wednesday Lombardi "worked closely with Chris Butler" who is a private investigator involved in the case. He said Lombardi also served directly under Wielsch during his work with CNET. Holder said that at the time of Butler and Wielsch's arrests there was no indication that Lobardi was involved.

Lombardi faces the following charges:
  • Accessory/Aiding and Abetting
  • Conspiracy
  • Grand Theft (weapons)
  • Possession of stolen property (guns, ID, illegal drugs)
  • Possession of an Illegal Assault Rifle
Chief Holder, who is also the chairman of CNET, said at a 5 p.m. news conference that today was a "dark day for the San Ramon police department." He also said that the actions of one should not reflect on his department as a whole. Lombardi, who lives in Discovery Bay, had his home searched Wednesday after his arrest and remains in jail on $760,000 bail.

A complaint, filed in April, details the allegations like this: Sometime between Oct. 26 and Nov. 1 Butler arranged to have a female decoy invite an individual to Meenar's Bar in Danville. On Nov. 2, Tanabe allegedly told the female decoy to speed away from bar, and that Tanabe asked another Danville officer to stop that individual shortly thereafter for a suspected DUI. On Nov. 3 Tanabe told the officer "Yeah, this is probably gonna screw him." Tanabe asked the officer to keep his name out of the police report. On Jan. 14 Butler arranged to have Tanabe at a different bar in Danville, Vine Bar. Tanabe told another police officer that he will perform a "dirty DUI" on a second individual. Allegedly Butler gave Tanabe a description of the second individual's car and that Tanabe arrested that individual for DUI. The complaint goes on to read that Tanabe "deliberately wrote an inaccurate police report regarding the stop of (the second individual's car)." The complaint also states that Wielsch and Butler obtained marijuana from the CNET evidence locker. Then Butler told Tanabe he had steroids or "juice" from Wielsch. Tanabe got steroid samples and a price list, allegedly. Tanabe told an individual they could buy steroids for $80-90, according to the report.

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