Bay City News — A San Ramon police officer who was arrested earlier this week in connection with a widening scandal involving the now-suspended Central Contra Costa County Narcotic Enforcement Team was arraigned in Martinez today but did not enter a plea.
Louis Lombardi, 38, was charged with several felonies, including conspiracy to sell drugs, possession of an assault rifle, possession of an SKS rifle, embezzlement and receiving stolen firearms.
The charges against Lombardi were added to what is now a 38-count criminal complaint against former CNET commander Norman Wielsch, former Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy Stephen Tanabe, and former police officer and private investigator Christopher Butler.
Wielsch and Butler, both 49, have been charged with conspiracy; selling methamphetamine, marijuana and steroids; and possessing methamphetamine, marijuana and steroids for sale.
Wielsch allegedly stole the drugs from law enforcement evidence lockers and Butler allegedly arranged to have them sold, according to court documents.
Tanabe, 47, was allegedly involved in steroid sales, according to court records.
According to the new charges, Lombardi allegedly met with Wielsch and Butler at a barbecue restaurant in Pleasant Hill in May 2009 and discussed using a confidential informant from CNET to sell marijuana.
In the spring of 2010, Lombardi allegedly sold Ecstasy pills to the confidential informant in Arizona, and in October 2010, he allegedly sold half a pound of marijuana to the same confidential informant, according to court documents.
Tanabe and Butler have also been charged in connection with a so-called "dirty DUI" scheme, in which Butler allegedly set up men to be arrested for drunken driving and then tipped off Tanabe, who arrested them.
Wielsch, Butler and Tanabe have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
As part of the fallout from the case, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office has dismissed 15 pending criminal cases and declined to file charges on five more cases involving the dirty DUI arrests, according to District Attorney Mark Peterson.
During Lombardi's arraignment today, Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Nancy Davis Stark granted the prosecutor's request to raise his bail from $270,000 to $500,000, and he remained in custody this afternoon.
He is scheduled to return to court May 13 to enter a plea and to have a bail hearing.
San Ramon Police Chief Scott Holder attended the arraignment. He said outside the courtroom that seeing Lombardi in jail was difficult, but his police department had to "do what's right."
Prosecutor Jun Fernandez said the investigation was still going on, but so far he did not know of any other police officers believed to be involved in the scandal.
Harry Stern, an attorney who appeared in court on behalf of Lombardi, said Lombardi seemed to be handling the situation as well as he could.
"Under the circumstances, it seems like he's holding up fairly
well," Stern said.