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Contra Costa Police Commander Arrested On Drug Dealing Charges

By Joe Vazquez, CBS 5

CONCORD (CBS 5) -- The high-profile commander for the Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team - a task force of various police agencies - was arrested Wednesday on 22 felony charges involving alleged drug dealing, authorities told CBS 5.

Special Agent Supervisor Norman Wielsch, a 12-year veteran of the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, was being held in the Contra Costa County Jail on $660,000 bail following his arrest.

"Allegations are that he was distributing for sales methamphetamine, marijuana and steroids," said Michelle Gregory, a state DOJ spokesperson.

The specific charges against Wielsch include transportation of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale, embezzlement, burglary and conspiracy.

Wielsch was arrested without incident along with 49-year-old Christopher Butler of Concord, Gregory said.

Like Wielsch, Butler is also facing felony counts related to the selling of methamphetamines, marijuana and steroids.

According to a source close to the investigation, Wielsch is accused of taking drugs confiscated by his team and selling them with the help of Butler, who is a private investigator and owner of Butler & Associates of Concord.

Wielsch and Butler were arrested in an undercover sting, according to the source, which began in January after allegations of possible misconduct surfaced.

"There are still going to be follow-up investigations so there may be more charges forthcoming," said Gregory. "The internal affairs department and the criminal investigation side will both be investigating."

Wielsch was placed on unpaid leave and would remain so as long as he is in custody, said Gregory. She noted that Butler was believed to be a friend and associate of Wielsch but had no connection to the justice department or the drug task force.

Both men had previously worked for the Antioch Police Dept., but their employment there ended in the late 1990s, said Allan Cantando, Antioch's interim police chief. He declined to comment further.

The Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, known as CNET, is one of dozens of drug task forces operating throughout the state.

It is run through the state DOJ and is made up of agents from the Pleasant Hill, Martinez, San Ramon, Danville, Walnut Creek, Pittsburg and Clayton police departments as well as the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office, the California Highway Patrol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Contra Costa County Probation Department.

It was unclear who would take command of the team in Wielsch's absence, Gregory said.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)


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