2011
09.09

Public defenders on Thursday quickly moved to re-examine cases against their clients after the arrests of a Contra Costa County drug task force chief and a private investigator accused of running a narcotics-selling scheme, possibly with confiscated drugs.

The arrest of Norman Wielsch, commander of the state’s Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team, or CNET, could have far-reaching ramifications in superior and appellate courts, said Contra Costa County Public Defender Robin Lipetzky.

The arrest not only calls into question the credibility and integrity of Wielsch as an individual, she said, but also that of the task force as an investigative body and the guardian of prosecution evidence.

“Was he motivated by a desire to confiscate as much drugs as he could so he could turn around and sell them? Was he writing false police reports? Was he exaggerating in police reports? You have to question everything in a CNET investigation,” Lipetzky said. “You also have to wonder when it’s the top cop of the investigation that’s a crooked cop, what did others in CNET know?”
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