Contra Costa County's high-profile police corruption case is going on parallel tracks in two court systems.
Norman Wielsch, former commander of the county's Contra Costa Narcotics Task Force, and Christopher Butler, a former private investigator in Concord, were in state Superior Court in Walnut Creek Thursday. The Contra Costa District Attorney's Office continues to pursue state charges against them even as a case is headed for federal court, KCBS in San Francisco reported.
Judge William M. Kolin ordered the defendants to return Feb. 8 for a readiness conference.
Also appearing were codefendants Steven Tanabe, a former Danville police officer, and Louis Lombardi, a former San Ramon officer.
Usually in such cases the state dismisses the case and defers to the feds in order to conserve resources, said Michael Cardoza, Wielsch's lawyer. Cardoza said the DA's office was looking to get its "pound of flesh," CBS reported.
The duo was indicted in August in a federal court in San Francisco.
The indictment accuses Wielsch and Butler of working together to steal methamphetamine and marijuana from police evidence lockers and sell it back on the street.
The amount of drugs they're accused of stealing is enough to land them in federal prison for a decade, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The two also pimped out sex workers at a Pleasant Hill massage parlor, the charges say. They are accused of demanding weekly payments from the women in exchange for protection, according to the indictment.