Ex-Contra Costa Co. Deputy Sentenced in “Dirty DUI” Case

Chris Butler choked up as his sentence was read.

A former Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy on Tuesday was sentenced to 15 months in prison for his role in a police corruption scandal.

Stephen Tanabe helped a private investigator arrest men for drunken driving to help their wives in divorce and custody battles. The scandals has been dubbed the "Dirty DUI" case.

"He does realize that he was wrong, but it took him a while to get to that point," said Tess Lopez, a sentencing mitigation specialist. "The bottom line is he gets it. He understands his part in it and he was very sincere when he expressed he was sorry about his involvement in this."

Tanabe broke down in court, where he spoke publicly about the scandal for the first time.

MORE: Ex-Contra Costa Co. Deputy Convicted in "Dirty DUI" Case

The disgraced former deputy accepted a gun from Christopher Butler - a former Antioch police officer - to arrest three men outside Danville bars in elaborate stings known as "dirty DUIs.'' Authorities said the private investigator was hired to tarnish their images.

"Yes, they were violating the law, but in fact if they were set up by Butler he was sorry for his part in that," Lopez said.

Butler was sentenced in 2012 to eight years in prison for drug dealing. He was the center of a corruption scandal that resulted in convictions of Bay Area police officers from four agencies, including the former head of a drug task force.

MORE: Sentencing Day For Christopher Buter "Dirty Private Eye"

Tanabe has until April 15 to surrender and begin serving his time.

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