In January of 2013, three Schaumburg, IL (Cook County) police officers were arrested and charged with running a massive drug dealing operation. They ran their scheme by busting small time drug dealers and stealing their cash and drugs. They would place a small amount of the seized drugs into evidence, charge the dealers with a minor offense, and keep the rest. They believed that by giving lenient charges they would buy the dealers' silence and never get caught. The officers blackmailed a former police informant into moving their product in neighboring DuPage County, and were even so blatant as to use their police squad cars to deliver drugs to their dealer.
The scheme unraveled when Carol Stream, IL police found cocaine in a storage shed linked to the drug dealing informant. The informant took a plea deal and laid bare the entire operation. Later in January, the three officers were caught on tape breaking into another storage facility, stealing drugs and $20,000 in cash.
The officers were all charged with felony calculated criminal drug conspiracy, unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, armed violence, theft, burglary and official misconduct. Sentences are now being handed down.
Terrance O'Brien was sentenced to 24 years in prison on March 21 after pleading guilty to 4 charges.
Matthew Hudak pled guilty to the same charges and has now been sentenced to 26 years in prison.
John Cichy the third officer has requested a jury trial.
This entire episode serves to highlight the abject failure of the War on Drugs. It does nothing but create an unregulated black market and encourage corruption among police and government officials. When police are dealing the very drugs they seize, we know that the entire system has collapsed.
One good thing that has come out of this event, is the overturning of over a dozen minor drug charges against individuals arrested by these three former officers over the years. As none of their testimony can be trusted, all charges are being dismissed. We can only hope that one day that will be true for everyone convicted of non-violent drug offenses.
The Schaumburg police were forced to disband their major drug task force after this incident, and there has been very little political support to resurrect it. Realization continues to grow as to what a horrible waste of limited tax dollars the war on drugs has been.