Eddie Hicks spent 14 years running way from the moment that finally arrived Monday afternoon.
Facing trial in the spring of 2003, prosecutors say the corrupt veteran of the Chicago Police Department took thousands of dollars out of the bank and disappeared. They finally found him in 2017 in Michigan, where he was using the name David Rose.
Monday, a decade and a half after he should have gone on trial, a jury took just a few hours to find the 70-year-old Hicks guilty of leading a robbery and extortion crew back in the 1990s, using his gun and his badge to rip-off drug dealers.
“The level of this man’s corruption was staggering,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Morris Pasqual told jurors before they began deliberating.
Hicks’ attorney, Robert Crowe, assailed a key government witness and told jurors there wasn’t enough evidence to put Hicks away. Still, in an unusually brief closing argument, he admitted Hicks had fled his 2003 trial.
The jurors found Hicks guilty of a racketeering conspiracy, drug and gun crimes as well as bail jumping.
Hicks worked for the Chicago Police Department from 1970 until 2000 and was assigned to the narcotics section between 1992 and 1997, records show. The feds caught him and others on tape plotting rip-offs that involved stealing drugs from certain dealers, then selling those drugs to others. They said Hicks gleaned information about their targets from dealers with nicknames like “Sugarbear.”
The crew would use counterfeit Chicago police badges and take unmarked cars from the CPD motor pool during the rip-offs, sometimes even using license plates from out-of-service CPD vehicles. They would pose as Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force officers while pulling targets over, and they would forge search warrants while raiding homes, apartments and hotel rooms.
The men would bust in carrying police radios, and they would wear what appeared to be bulletproof vests and equipment belts from CPD, records show.
Afterward, they would divvy up the proceeds on their way back to their usual meeting spot — a place they called the “gym” near the police station at 51st and Wentworth.
Hicks led the team.
The crew’s rip-offs included taking back marijuana in 1997 from a home in the south suburbs after it had been stolen from a man who then paid $100,000 for its return. That money eventually made its way to Hicks, prosecutors say.
Hicks’ crew also restrained the occupant of an Alsip apartment in April 1999 while conducting a raid with a bogus search warrant. Alsip police approached as the crew left the apartment, but Hicks and company claimed, falsely, that the search was legal.
A drug dealer named Arthur “Pete” Veal also recorded audio and video of Hicks in December 2000 and January 2001, in which Veal helped Hicks plan to rob a Southwest Side stash house using a fake search warrant. Veal, who had been busted on drug charges late in 2000, pushed the scheme while working with the FBI. He died in 2016, prosecutors say.
On the tapes, Hicks can be heard worrying about the feds, who had stashed thousands of dollars inside the apartment in the 3000 block of West 58th. Hicks complained on the recordings after his crew only found a fraction of it.
“Man,” Veal said, “I already spent some of that f—in’ money.”
“Yeah, well there’s no doubt that everybody was lookin’ forward to a Merry Christmas,” Hicks said. He added later: “Believe me, I (had) visions of driving that red ‘Vette.”