SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) -- A federal grand jury in San Francisco on Monday indicted former Contra Costa County narcotics task force Commander Norman Wielsch and a friend, private investigator Christopher Butler, on 17 charges each that included illegally selling confiscated drugs and operating a brothel.
Wielsch and Butler were ordered held without bond by federal magistrates after being taken into custody earlier in the day by the Federal Bureau of Investiation.
"This indictment alleges a pattern of lawlessness that not only violated the trust of the people of Contra Costa County, but also brings dishonor to all the fine men and women in law enforcement who work hard, do the right thing, and risk their lives every day protecting our communities," U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said.
According to the indictment, Wielsch, 50, and Butler, 50, are alleged to have participated together in illegal drug dealing and prositution made possible by Wielsch's position as the commander of the Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET).
The indictment alleged the following abuses of Wielsch's position, in which Butler, a former police officer and currently a private investigator based in Concord, was also accused of participating and assisting:
• Wielsch stole from county evidence facilities sufficiently large quantities of methamphetamine and marijuana that had been seized in CNET operations. Wielsch and Butler sold some of the stolen narcotics and intended to sell the remainder.
• Wielsch and Butler participated together in a phony "sting" operation in which they falsely detained a person under the guise of a legitimate law enforcement operation, conducted warrantless searches, and kept narcotics that were taken from the person during the "sting."
• Butler opened a massage parlor in Pleasant Hill in which prostitution took place. He required the women working in the parlor to make weekly payments, which he shared with Wielsch, in exchange for Wielsch's agreement to provide protection from law enforcement.
• Wielsch and Butler together conducted "stings" directed at other prostitutes operating in the area, but instead of seizing evidence and citing the prostitutes, they utook the prostitutes' money and property for themselves.
The pair face the possibility of life imprisonment if convicted on all, or even some, of the criminal counts against them.
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All roghts reserved.)
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