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Former Danville police officer convicted of six felonies in ‘Dirty DUI’ Scandal

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – On Tuesday, a former Danville police officer was convicted by a federal jury of 6 felonies for his role in the so-called “Dirty DUI” operation to set up men for driving under the influence arrests that could be used against them in family court.

50-year-old Stephen Tanabe was seen disappointed and depressed when the court clerk read his guilty verdicts for conspiracy, and multiple counts of wire fraud and extortion. 1 extortion charge of Tanabe was dismissed by the jury that was linked to an allegation that he was paid in cocaine for taking into custody an Oakland software salesman in late 2010, but it convicted him of a wire fraud count linked to text messages that prosecutors said related to the cocaine exchange.

After the decision, Tanabe declined to comment.

Tim Pori, Tanabe’s lawyer, argued at trial that Tanabe never took money to take individuals in custody and was framed by former Concord private investigator Christopher Butler, creator of the “Dirty DUI” setups in which the separated spouses of Butler clients were targeted.

Pori said, “To go from an honest and respected police officer to a felon, it’s devastating. This is devastating for Mr. Tanabe and his family”.

At the 2-week trial, Federal prosecutors showed proofs that Tanabe’s friend Butler provided Tanabe 3.5 grams of cocaine and a Glock pistol for facilitating 3 driving under the influence arrests in late 2010 and early 2011. They were both Antioch cops in the mid-1990s.

According to Butler, he tried this scheme about 12 times. His employees, mostly beautiful girls would seduce the separated spouses of his clients to consume alcohol at local bars, and then Butler would give the information to a police officer in hopes the target would get a DUI that could be used against him in divorce and child-custody proceedings. Tanabe was the only officer that Butler gave money in connection with the fraud scheme.

The authorities started investigating the case after Butler and Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team Commander Norman Wielsch were caught selling stolen drug proof in February 2011.They are selling the drugs to the 8 to 14 years old kids. They are also making false arrests and other crimes.

Many individuals participated in the Setups but Tanabe was the only one who was charged with criminal offenses. The end of his trial will start movement in about 6 civil cases that have been filed in state and federal court by individuals who were the targets of “Dirty DUI” and all of whom have had their charges or convictions linked to their tainted arrests dismissed.

At the 11th of December sentencing, Tanabe will be taken into federal custody. Tanabe will likely be sentenced to between 3 and 5 years in federal jail, according to Pori. Every count calls for up to twenty years in jail, said government.

He is planning appeals based on several issues in which whether the U.S. attorney’s office aptly applied the law in charging Tanabe is also included, said Pori.

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