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Embattled Top CoCo Drug Cop Accused Of Running Brothel

PLEASANT HILL (CBS 5) -- The embattled former commander of Contra Costa County's drug task force, already charged with a slew of drug crimes, is now under investigation for allegedly running a brothel in a Pleasant Hill business park, sources told CBS 5 on Wednesday.

Over a period of nine months in 2009 and 2010, neighbors at the office park in the 600 block of Gregory called police repeatedly because of the women they observed working in one of the offices and the high-number of men coming and going from the building.

"(The women) were scantily dressed, provocatively dressed. Always totally made up... I thought it was prostitution for sure," said Dr. David Atkinson, a chiropractor whose practice is also located in the office park.

CBS 5 has learned that state Department of Justice investigators are looking into a claim made recently in a written confession by private investigator Chris Butler that he and his friend, ex-police commander Norm Wielsch, were running a brothel at that location.

Wielsch and Butler have already been accused of stealing drugs confiscated by the Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team (C-NET) and re-selling them on the street, among other crimes.

According to two sources, Butler confessed to DOJ investigators that he rented the office space at 670 Gregory, Suite B and hired working girls. Shortly thereafter, in August of 2009, Pleasant Hill records indicate neighbors started calling police to report suspicious activity.

Atkinson said his calls to Pleasant Hill police were referred to the task force operated by Wielsch, whose investigators would "write a report saying, 'no, there's nothing really wrong there.'" The doctor said the task force investigator's reports maintained that the business was a legitimate massage provider.

Michael Cardoza, Wielsch's attorney, strongly denied the allegations that his client operated a brothel and called Wielsch's accuser a liar.

"Chris Butler can not be trusted. He's out there. He is trying to save himself some jail time and the way he's doing that is by lying," Cardoza told CBS 5.

"Butler has apparently spoken to law enforcement and told them that my client was involved with running a brothel. That's not true. This is Butler at his criminal best spinning yarns to the district attorney's office and to law enforcement in order for him to try to lessen the time that he's going to spend in state prison," the attorney contended.

Cardoza continued: "Butler apparently bought the furniture for this would-be brothel, according to what he's saying. He was the one that paid the lease, he was the one that paid the rent, he was the one that collected the money from the prostitutes. But yet he's blaming other people and he's trying to drag my client into this mess in order to garner some sort of support or at least less time from law enforcement. To say, 'look, I'm giving you information to dirty up other people.' He's a rat."

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved.)

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