Three former Schaumburg cops accused of shaking down drug dealers and peddling narcotics in DuPage County are one step closer to getting out of jail.
Bond was significantly lowered Thursday for John Cichy, Matthew Hudak and Terrance O'Brien, who have been held in lieu of $750,000 cash since their arrests two weeks ago. DuPage Judge Blanche Hill Fawell cut that amount after defense attorneys argued it was excessive and that their clients pose no flight risk.
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"This is the type of bond set when there's a dead body and kilos of cocaine," attorney Jay Fuller, who represents Cichy, told reporters at a news conference.
The reductions were different for each defendant. To be freed, Cichy will now have to post $25,000; Hudak, $30,000; and O'Brien, $35,000. After the ruling, Cichy put his hands over his face and sobbed in open court.
The defendants still must prove any bond money comes from a legitimate source rather than ill-gotten gains. But Hudak attorney Thomas Glasgow said a formal hearing could be waived if prosecutors are comfortable with the source of the money.
If released, all three defendants would have to wear GPS tracking devices and remain in Illinois.
The officers formally resigned this week and have had their assets frozen and vehicles and passports seized by the government. Still, prosecutors objected strenuously to any bond reduction.
"Their reputations are ruined," Assistant State's Attorney Audrey Anderson told Fawell. "They've lost their jobs and pensions, as they should. They are facing a minimum 24 years in prison. They're extreme flight risks."
Anderson presented a few new allegations, including that Cichy may have intercepted a quarter ounce of cocaine seized in a joint investigation with Elgin police in December. Hudak faked a search warrant, she said, and once took his two small children along to pick up $5,000 from a drug dealer. She said O'Brien gave many of the orders. Each officer was making about $120,000 a year on the force.
Defense attorneys said the former officers hope to make bond soon but it depends on whether their families or friends can come up with the money. The defendants have no incentive or means to flee, they said, adding they're easily recognizable because of intense media coverage.
"Everyone knows who he is," Glasgow said of Hudak. "If he were to walk away, he knows he would be caught."
All three officers have family in the area and deep ties to the community, according to their attorneys. Additionally, Fuller said, Cichy fears water and flying.
The attorneys stressed their clients are presumed innocent. They declined to respond to most allegations, however, saying prosecutors have yet to turn over any evidence.
O'Brien attorney Robert Irsuto, who knew the officer from defending some of those he arrested, was "shocked" by the allegations but said it's important to keep them in context.
"These are not murder charges, rape charges, domestic terrorism charges," he said. "They are serious, but they are police misconduct charges."
The investigation began Jan. 2 when police found about 9 ounces of cocaine in a Carol Stream storage unit. The search led to a former police informant who said he'd been helping three Schaumburg officers deal marijuana and cocaine skimmed from busted drug dealers.
Over the following two weeks, investigators captured the officers on video and audio surveillance as they made plans and carried out drug deals, authorities said.
Cichy, 30, of Streamwood; Hudak, 29, of Algonquin; and O'Brien, 46, of Palatine, all face charges of calculated criminal drug conspiracy, armed violence, theft, burglary, official misconduct, and delivery of a controlled substance.
Prosecutors said indictments are pending, with arraignment set for Monday. They declined to comment outside of court.