Fifth lawsuit filed against ex-Schaumburg cops accused of drug-dealing scheme
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At least the fifth lawsuit has been filed against former members of the Schaumburg Police Department’s tactical narcotics team who were accused of selling illegal drugs they seized.
Former officers Matthew Hudak and Terrance O’Brien were among the defendants named in the suit filed Tuesday in federal court by 30-year-old Victor Alvarado.
Hudak and O’Brien, as well as former officer John Cichy, allegedly planned an elaborate scheme for six months in 2012 which involved withholding cocaine and marijuana during drug arrests. They would then resell the stashes through a street dealer, prosecutors said at the time.
Alvarado claims he was arrested in November 2012 at his Elk Grove Village Home. Officers obtained a search warrant by falsifying information in a complaint, including the claim that Alvarado sold drugs to a confidential informant, the suit said.
Hudak and O’Brien arrested Alvarado and fabricated evidence by planting drugs in his home and making up statements for the police report.
The officers lied under oath during Alvarado’s preliminary hearings, the suit claims. Alvarado filed a motion to suppress the evidence and testimony, but that motion was denied, the suit claims.
Alvarado was sentenced to six years in prison in June 2012. But after Hudak and O’Brien were charged in connection to their drug scheme, Alvarado filed a motion to vacate his conviction. On May 1, all charges against Alvarado were dismissed, the suit said.
Carol Stream police first uncovered the officers’ plan in January 2013 as part of a drug investigation. An informant told investigators the officers had contacted him to sell drugs given to him by the cops, prosecutors said at the time.
After his arrest, O’Brien told investigators he took part in the scheme “for the thrill of it,” Anderson said.
More than a dozen people convicted of various drug offenses after being arrested by Hudak, Cichy and O’Brien have been cleared of charges since the officers were arrested.
The three officers resigned after being arrested, leading to the dismantling of the Schaumburg police special investigations bureau in which they worked.
O’Brien, 47, pleaded guilty in March to unlawful possession of a controlled substance, official misconduct, burglary and armed violence, according to the Sun-Times. The 23-year Schaumburg police veteran must serve at least half of his 24-year sentence, prosecutors said.
Hudak, 29, was sentenced to 26 years and must also serve at least half his sentence before he is eligible for parole, according to prosecutors.
Cichy, 32, is awaiting trial and is next scheduled to appear in court Dec. 5 at the Wheaton courthouse, according to DuPage County court records.
At least four other lawsuits have been filed against Schaumburg and different combinations of O’Brien, Cichy and Hudak since February 2013.
“The village acted decisively in the wake of the allegations against these officers by separating them from the department, and enlisting an independent review of the police department and implementing the recommendations to minimize the risk of this happening again,” said attorney Jim Sotos, who is representing the department in the suits.
Because of his conviction, Alvarado claims he lost the chance to “spend time with his family, including his 8-year-old daughter, and his friends, to share holidays, births, funerals and other life events with loved ones.”
Among claims made in the seven-count suit include violations of due process, failure of other named officers to intervene in the alleged misconduct and a conspiracy to deprive Alvarado of his constitutional rights. Alvarado is asking for punitive damages and compensation for legal fees.