After 14 years on the run, corrupt former Chicago cop gets 13 years in prison
A federal jury convicted Eddie Hicks last year of leading a robbery and extortion crew in the 1990s, using his gun and badge to rip-off drug dealers.
Few people in the federal courtroom downtown Thursday gave 71-year-old Eddie Hicks much chance of outliving the prison sentence about to be handed down to him.
But the corrupt former Chicago cop had spent 14 years on the run. He should have faced trial when he was in his 50s back in 2003. Instead, he fled and was found guilty only last year of leading a robbery and extortion crew in the 1990s, using his gun and badge to rip-off drug dealers.
So, despite concerns about life expectancy and COVID-19, U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow handed Hicks a 13-year prison sentence, telling him “It’s really hard for me to give you much sympathy for what you did.”
“I don’t get any sense that you’ve taken any responsibility for what happened,” Lefkow said.
A jury convicted Hicks in March 2019 of a racketeering conspiracy, drug and gun crimes and bail jumping. Assistant U.S. Attorney Morris Pasqual called Hicks’ crimes a “raw, naked abuse of official power.”
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 Administration 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 Street and Wentworth Avenue.
Hicks led the team. Records show his co-defendants all completed their sentences years ago.
Hick appeared in an orange jumpsuit and white face mask during the in-person sentencing hearing Thursday on the 21st floor of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. Before he was sentenced, Hicks argued he had led a mostly law-abiding life even while on the run — though prosecutors have said he “was breaking the law each and every day he remained a fugitive.”
Originally due for trial on June 9, 2003, the feds say Hicks liquidated his annuity and life insurance policies, depositing checks worth $61,886 into his bank accounts. Then he took it all out in cash, fleeing Chicago three days before that trial date.
Prosecutors said he then stole the name and birthdate of a person named David Rose and used that information to land a fraudulent driver’s license in Michigan.
They said he even tried to pass himself off as David Rose when an FBI task force officer finally approached him on the street in Detroit in September 2017.
In a memo to the court earlier this year, Pasqual wrote that, “The fact that Hicks’ service of his sentence has been delayed until this point in his life is the product of the choice that he made.”