Dec 6, 2012 1:49 AM by Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The disgraced former head of an elite Northern California drug task force is facing up to 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing drugs from evidence lockers and trying to sell them.
Norman Wielsch apologized for shaming the law enforcement community before pleading guilty Wednesday in federal court to charges including conspiracy to distribute marijuana and methamphetamine and theft from programs receiving government funds.
The 51-year-old Wielsch led the now-defunct Central Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, an elite multi-agency unit that conducted drug raids and shut down prostitution rings.
His guilty pleas come after a grand jury indicted Wielsch and private investigator Christopher Butler last year on the drug charges, as well as charges of operating a brothel and conducting phony sting operations to rob prostitutes.
Butler is currently in prison after pleading guilty in the case.
Wielsch is due to be sentenced in February.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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