Drug charges dropped in cases worked by accused Schaumburg cops
The fallout from the arrests of three undercover Schaumburg police officers on drug conspiracy charges continued Monday with Cook County prosecutors dropping charges in three out of 15 drug cases they say will ultimately be dismissed because of the officers' involvement.
Prosecutors on Monday afternoon dismissed charges against Marleny Gutierrez, 20, of Wheeling, Alex Garcia, 18, of Palatine, and a woman who had been assigned to drug school. None of them appeared in court.
One or more of the accused officers -- John Cichy, Matthew Hudak and Terrance O'Brien -- were involved in each of those cases, a spokeswoman for the office of the Cook County State's Attorney confirmed.
As members of Schaumburg Police Department's Special Investigations Bureau, Cichy, Hudak and O'Brien, a 23-year veteran, took part in undercover operations involving drugs, gangs and prostitution. On Jan. 16, DuPage County prosecutors charged the trio with selling cocaine and marijuana, claiming they skimmed drugs from police seizures and used a onetime informant to sell the product.
Police also charged Nicole Brehm, 44, of Hoffman Estates, who authorities say is the mistress of O'Brien, 46.
Cichy, 30, has been an officer for five years. Hudak, 29, served eight years.
Immediately after the arrests, Cook County Public Defender Abishi Cunningham and State's Attorney Anita Alvarez announced reviews of cases involving the officers, who are on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Of the 19 cases reviewed by the state's attorney, 15 will be dismissed and four will move foreword, a spokeswoman said. All the cases involved felony drug charges, the spokeswoman said.
The investigation into the officers began Jan. 2 when police discovered about nine ounces of cocaine inside a Carol Stream storage shed. That led them to a former police informant who told authorities he had been dealing drugs for three Schaumburg cops who had previously arrested him. Over the course of two weeks, surveillance video showed the officers discussing "ripping off" dealers and delivering drugs or money to the informant, sometimes while driving police vehicles, Cook County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said following the arrests.
Prosecutors made the right decision in dismissing the cases, said Cook County Assistant Public Defender Joe Gump, who represented the public defender's office at Monday's hearing.
"Justice is being served by not pursuing these cases," he said.