The commander of a state Justice Department-led county drug task force and the owner of a Concord-based private investigations firm, nationally known for its "Mommy P.I.s," have been booked into county jail on suspicion of conspiring to sell drugs.
Special agents from the Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, arrested Norman “Norm” Wielsch, a 12-year veteran of the bureau, Wednesday in Benicia. Wielsch was arrested on 22 felony counts. The charges are related to the distribution of methamphetamine, marijuana and steroids, bureau spokeswoman Michelle Gregory said.
The arrest is the result of an investigation that began in January after the bureau became aware of allegations of misconduct by Wielsch. Agents with the bureau initiated a comprehensive undercover operation that culminated in the arrest of Wielsch and Christopher Butler, 49, of Concord. Butler, owner of Butler & Associates, is believed to be a friend and an associate of Wielsch but has no connection to the Justice Department or the narcotic enforcement team that Wielsch led, Gregory said.
The Contra Costa Times reported that the suspected offenses include embezzlement, second-degree burglary and conspiracy.
Wielsch and Butler were booked into the Contra Costa County Jail. Wielsch's bail was set at $660,000, Butler's at $840,000.
The investigation is continuing and there is no indication that other police personnel were involved, Gregory said. The bureau is precluded by law from discussing what it terms an administrative investigation, and will not comment further on the criminal investigation.
Wielsch heads the Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team (CCCNET), which is made up of police officers from local departments, including Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Danville, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Clayton and the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office. The task force also includes representatives from the county Probation Department and the district attorney’s office.
The task force targets mid- to high-level drug dealers in central Contra Costa. Members are trained by the Justice Department, work undercover and are available to agencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Butler's firm calls itself a full-service private investigations firm, but its claim to fame, in addition to spots on The Today Show and the Dr. Phil Show, is its "P.I. Mom" team. According to the Butler and Associate's website, these are "highly-trained female investigators" who "possess unique skill-sets that make them an invaluable asset to the many complex cases and undercover stings" that the firm routinely performs.
Butler, a licensed investigator, started working for the original owner of the firm, former FBI Special Agent Charles Latting, two years after the firm opened in 1996, the website says. At that time, the firm operated under the name Corporate Intelligence Resources and specialized in undercover corporate work and investigative research for corporations and businesses throughout California.
Butler became owner in 2002. "While continuing to provide in-depth investigations and covert personnel for workplace problems, Butler & Associates also provides outstanding surveillance, security and undercover sting services to a vast array of clientele," the website says. Some clients included private citizens who wanted to know whether their significant others were cheating on them, as this NBC News segment, which you can view here, shows.