CONTRA COSTA — Sheriff’s deputy Stephen Tanabe has been convicted of aiding in the set up of multiple men who were enticed by women to drive with alcohol.
Attractive actresses would go into bars and pressure men to drink and then leave in their cars, according to reports.
Tanabe would wait outside and as soon as the men began driving, he would arrest them for a DUI.
He was able to profit off of this scheme because he would specifically target men whose ex-wives wanted them to get arrested.
The ex-wives would then pay money once the men were arrested successfully.
“This was a case where what this officer did that was wrong was basically negotiating and receiving money or property to do his job, which he did,” said Judge Breyer, who sentenced Tanabe.
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“But he did so with the knowledge that the circumstances of the offenses were initiated by others,” he added.
A jury convicted Tanabe of conspiracy and extortion in connection with at least three men who were arrested in Danville.
The arrests were known as “dirty DUIs.”
The actresses used in the conspiracy were attractive and hired by a private investigator named Christopher Butler.
Butler had female clients who were going through divorces, and these clients offered to pay to have their ex-husbands set up and arrested.
Butler’s actresses would go into bars, find the men, and then pressure them to drive away after drinking.
Butler would alert Tanabe about the “targets” as they began driving away, and Tanabe would then make the arrests.
After making the arrest, Butler would pay Tanabe with expensive goods, such as a Glock firearm, according to reports.
The jury acquitted him of a charge which alleged he also received cocaine from Butler in exchange for an arrest.
Tanabe is reported to have said that at the time he participated in the scandal, he didn’t think that he was acting illegally.
“I justified it in my mind that it was a legitimate arrest of drivers who were intoxicated. In my mind, I was arresting people who were breaking the law in the town in which I worked,” he said.
Since then, he admits that “I did something wrong and made a mistake. I accepted a Glock gun from Christopher Butler and I made arrests.”
A prosecutor used text messages between Tanabe and Butler to show that there was evidence of “active participation and knowledge” by Tanabe.
The three men who were arrested are filing civil lawsuits against both Tanabe and Butler.
Tanabe was sentenced to 15 months behind bars and will be supervised when he gets out.