Contra Costa County, Calif. Sheriff’s Deputy Stephen Tanabe was recently convicted of participating in a plot in which men were enticed by women to drive after drinking too much.
The plot was allegedly hatched by a private investigator, Christopher Butler, to smear the men's reputations while they were going through their divorces.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, actresses would pressure men to drink in bars and then leave with them in their cars in Danville, Calif.
Butler would alert Tanabe about the “targets” and Tanabe would quickly arrest the men for DUI.
The ex-wives paid money after the men were arrested, noted the Danville Patch.
“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 to 15 months in jail.
“But he did so with the knowledge that the circumstances of the offenses were initiated by others,” added Judge Breyer.
Tanabe was convicted of conspiracy and extortion in connection with at least three men who were arrested in these “dirty DUIs.”
Tanabe didn’t think that he was acting illegally at the time of the arrests, but recently admitted to Judge Breyer, “I did something wrong and made a mistake. I accepted a Glock gun from Christopher Butler and I made arrests.”
Text messages between Tanabe and Butler showed evidence of “active participation and knowledge” by Tanabe, claimed prosecutor Philip Kearney.
Oddly, Judge Breyer did not have Tanabe taken into custody after his conviction, but will allow the sheriff’s deputy to get his affairs in order and not enter jail until April 15.
For his part, Butler is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for drug and conspiracy convictions.
The three men who were arrested by Tanabe are now filing civil lawsuits against Tanabe and Butler.