A former Antioch police officer and private investigator was sentenced Tuesday afternoon to eight years in prison following a high-profile string of arrests that disgraced the Contra Costa County California Narcotic Enforcement Team last year.
U.S. District Court Judge Saundra Armstrong in Oakland also ordered Christopher Butler to pay a $20,000 fine. Butler, dressed in a tan jail jumpsuit, choked up as his sentence was handed down.
"I want to apologize to the community for the anxiety, fear and suffering I caused," Butler said.
He also apologized "to the law enforcement community for the embarrassment and betrayal inflicted on it."
He added a final apology: "I apologize to my family and friends who supported me through all of this."
The sentencing follows his guilty plea in May to six charges, including extortion, robbery and conspiring to deal drugs. His probation officer recommended more than 12 years in prison.
Butler's sentence was much stiffer than what his associate received. Former San Ramon police office Louis Lombardi was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the CNET scandal. Lombardi plead guilty to stealing $40,000 in cash and guns while serving search warrants.
Butler had achieved some fame by hooking a reality TV show contract and hiring "Mommy P.I.s," attractive women whose job was to lure men into cheating on their wives. And in court, he admitted to bribing a Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy, Stephen Tanabe, with cocaine and a gun to make drunk driving arrests of men he was investigating. These have since been dubbed, "dirty DUI" stings, and Butler has earned the nickname, the "Dirty P.I."
Butler testified to a lot: He admitted setting up a massage parlor, which provided sexual services.
And he testified that former squad commander Norman Wielsch gave him marijuana and steroids, which he then gave to a colleague at his private eye firm. He also said he drove Wielsch to various spots where they took 586 grams of methamphetamine from evidence lockers. One of those pounds, he said, sold for $9,800. He admitted to taking $30,000 worth of drugs.
Wielsh and Tanabe have both pleaded not guilty to similar charges.
The drug team, known as CNET, was disbanded last February.
In March, NBC Bay Area was the first media organization to obtain the undercover video showing Butler and Wielsch in an apparent drug transaction at Butler's office in Concord. To see that video, click below.
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