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Cases Dismissed as Part of Ongoing Law Enforcement Scandal

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

By Bay City News — As part of the fallout from a criminal case involving  and a Concord private investigator, prosecutors have dismissed 15 pending criminal cases and refused to file charges in five more cases involving so-called "dirty DUI" arrests, District Attorney Mark Peterson said today.

The cases being dismissed 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.

It was announced last month that a prostitution case involving a San Ramon owner had been dropped.

Peterson said his office has completed its review of all pending cases involving former CNET Commander Norman Wielsch, 49, and former Danville Police officer Stephen Tanabe, 47.

Tanabe was in the 34-count criminal complaint  involving Wielsh and private investigator and former Antioch police officer Christopher Butler, 49.

Butler and Wielsch, who were charged in February, have pleaded not guilty to 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.

Tanabe, who had been free on bail since his arrest last month, was arraigned in Contra Costa County Superior Court this afternoon on three counts of conspiracy— conspiracy to sell steroids, conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy to falsely arrest; one count of accepting a bribe; and three counts involving an assault weapon,  D.A. Peterson said.

The amended complaint filed today also includes 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.

Wielsch and Butler have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Tanabe has not yet entered a plea.

All three men are free on bail and are scheduled to return to court later this month.

San Ramon Police Chief Scott Holder, who headed CNET for the state Department of Justice, said the task force has been suspended indefinitely.

Butler and Tanabe's attorneys did not return calls seeking comment.

When asked whether any additional charges or arrests in the case were expected, Peterson said, "The investigation is ongoing."

He did, however, say that with the information his office has so far, he does not expect to dismiss any more cases.

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