A Contra Costa County (Calif.) Sheriff's deputy now faces 20 year in prison, after a federal jury convicted him of taking bribes as part of a scheme to nab drunk driving suspects.
The jury found Stephen Tanabe, who resigned in March of 2011, guilty of two counts of extortion under color of offical right, three counts of wire fraud on a deprivation of honest services theory, and one count of comspiracy to commit honest services fraud.
Tanabe, 50, collaborated with Christopher Butler, a former Antioch Police officer turned private investigator. Butler was hired by wives and ex-wives engaged in divorce and child custody proceedings to arrange "stings" against their spouses, whom they told Butler had a propensity to drive under the influence of alcohol.
Butler used female "decoys" to entice the sting targets to bars in downtown Danville, where Tanabe was assigned to patrol, and encourage them to drink.
For one sting, Tanabe joined Butler in a bar while off-duty to watch two attractive young women working for Butler drink with a sting target. In exchange for a promise of cocaine, Tanabe notified an on-duty deputy that the sting target was about to drive away after he was lured by the prospect of a hot tub with the two women, according to evidence presented at trial.
For two other stings, the evidence showed that an on-duty Tanabe waited outside the Vine Bar in Danville and arrested the targets in exchange for a Glock handgun.