Former CNET Commander Will Plead Guilty to Drug Charges

Norman Wielsch admits he tried to sell drugs on the street that he stole from evidence lockers, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Norman Wielsch, who two years ago was a commander for the Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, will later this week admit to charges that he stole narcotics from evidence lockers and tried to sell them back on the street, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Wielsch will plead guilty to five charges in a federal indictment in exchange for a light sentence, according to court documents. Part of the deal is Wielsch will not ask the judge for a sentence less than 10 years, when he is sentenced in February.

His attorney, Michael Cardoza, told the Chronicle that the charges allege that Wielsch stole marijuana and methamphetamines, falsely arrested a suspected drug dealer, and stole cash and cell phones from prostitutes.

Wielsch was one player in a police corruption scandal that involved drug trafficking, dirty DUI stings, obstruction of justice, extortion, illegal wire-tapping and prostitution.

The ringleader of the operation was Concord-based private investigator Christopher Butler. In May, Butler told a federal judge he teamed with Wielsch to sell large quantities of marijuana, methamphetamine and steroids obtained during CNET searches of suspects' homes.

(Related: Private Investigator Christopher Butler Pleads Guilty in CNET Corruption Case)

Also involved in the scandal were Danville officer Stephen Tanabe and San Ramon officer Louis Lombardi.

Tanabe has pleaded not guilty to charges of four counts of wire fraud in addition to the four charges filed against him last December accusing him of aiding former private investigator Christopher Butler in setting up the DUI arrests of men involved in divorce cases, according to court documents.

(Related: Tanabe Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Charges)

Lombardi, Wielsch's second-in-command, was sentenced to three years in prison in May after admitting to four misdemeanor counts for stealing thousands of dollars in cash and property during searches of suspects' homes.

He also pleaded guilty to five counts of possessing and selling drugs and stolen firearms while he worked on CNET.

(Related: Former San Ramon Officer Gets Three Years in Prison for CNET Scandal)

Wielsch was arrested, along with Butler, in February 2011.


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