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Fugitive cop finally due for trial — again — after 14 years on the run

Eddie C. Hicks was on the Chicago Crime Commission's "10 most wanted" list.

Eddie Hicks managed to spend 14 years on the lam after a long and corrupt career on the Chicago Police Department, prosecutors say.

Then, in September 2017, a federal judge in Michigan finally said the words, “good afternoon, Mr. Hicks,” to a man who had been arrested in Detroit. Hicks had been caught, and the judge soon shipped him back to Illinois.

Now, Hicks on Monday faces the racketeering trial he never showed up for back in June 2003.

It’s a case so old that one co-defendant, expected to testify, has already finished his nine-year prison term. And another key witness has died, the feds say. Meanwhile, the 70-year-old Hicks has recently been locked up in Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.

While on the run, he obtained a Michigan driver’s license using the name David Rose, the prosecutors say.

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 say they 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 allegedly 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 feds say.

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 allegedly 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 allegedly 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 allegedly claimed, falsely, that the search was legal.

Former CPD mechanic Larry Knitter pleaded guilty to the racketeering conspiracy and was sentenced to more than nine years in prison in 2005, records show. Knitter is expected to testify at Hicks’ trial about the robberies he allegedly committed with Hicks and two others between 1992 and 2001, according to court records.

The feds also say a drug dealer named Arthur “Pete” Veal 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 vet.”