19 former defendants go free in the wake of cops' arrests
In the wake of the January 2013 arrests in DuPage County of former Schaumburg undercover officers John Cichy, Matthew Hudak and Terrance O'Brien on charges of criminal drug conspiracy, Cook County prosecutors dismissed charges against 19 defendants whose pending cases involved one or more of the officers.
The case reports provide a glimpse of how the three officers conducted undercover work, intercepting drug deliveries at locations around the suburbs and recruiting new informants.
• John Abel, 22, of Schaumburg. Abel was on parole for a 2009 burglary when he was arrested on March 14, 2012, on charges he intended to deliver hydrocodone, cannabis and mushrooms. His lawyer declined to comment.
• Victor Aguilar-Abazan, 24, of Streamwood. He was picked up on Jan. 4, 2012, after police say he sold a total of 4.1 grams of cocaine to an informant on two separate occasions. In an interview with the Daily Herald, he denied selling drugs. On the day he was arrested at his home, police say they recovered 5.3 grams of cocaine and $1,687. Reports show police released him pending his cooperation in future investigations. He later declined and surrendered to police.
• Mario Alvarez-Romero, 33, of Schaumburg. Alvarez-Romero, known as "Yo," met an informant in a Hoffman Estates parking lot on May 23, 2012, to sell the informant an "eight ball" (3.5 grams of cocaine), police reports show. Police say they recovered 5.25 grams of cocaine. Released pending his cooperation, Alvarez-Romero was arrested at his home on June 8, 2012. A judge issued a bond forfeiture warrant for his arrest on Nov. 13, 2012, after he failed to show up in court. The judge quashed the warrant on Jan. 29, 2013, after prosecutors dismissed the charges against him. He could not be reached for comment.
• Diangelo Beasley, 25, of Chicago. Police reports say Beasley, known as "KP," took a Metra train to Arlington Heights on June 27, 2012, to sell 75 Ecstasy pills and a quarter-ounce of cocaine to an informant. Police reported Beasley, after his arrest, told them the cocaine was fake and that he was just trying to make some extra money and do his friend a favor by selling it. Police reported they recovered 67 Ecstasy pills. Beasley, who court records show was on probation at the time for a 2011 drug conviction, has convictions dating back to 2005 for possession of cannabis and possession of a controlled substance. Beasley's public defender declined to comment.
• Russell Disney, 23, of Palatine. Police reports say Cichy purchased 0.9 grams of cocaine from Disney in a parking lot at a Palatine liquor store on Oct. 11, 2012. Several days later, on Oct. 16, Cichy purchased 1.8 grams of cocaine from Disney, police reported. Since his October 2012 arrest, Disney has completed substance abuse treatment. His lawyer Kathryn Ross says he has been "scared straight," while he says he is taking advantage of his second chance.
• Wendell Galbreth, 37, of Elgin. Charged with delivery of cocaine and reckless driving, Galbreth told his customers to leave money in the glove boxes of their unlocked vehicles, which Galbreth would replace with a half-ounce of crack cocaine, police reports say. On Aug. 8, 2012, an informant made such an arrangement with Galbreth on the 1000 block of Schaumburg Road, according to police. Hudak reported he observed Galbreth place 14.45 grams of cocaine in the glove box, remove the money and attempt to drive off. Galbreth ignored orders to stop and drove across the sidewalk and parkway, nearly striking two officers, police reported. Galbreth surrendered to police several days later. His lawyer did not return calls for comment.
• Alex Garcia, 18, of Palatine. Police reports say Garcia sold cocaine to Cichy on Dec. 18 and Dec. 28, 2012, with the latter transaction for 3.33 grams. Hudak reported he purchased 26 grams of cocaine from Garcia for $1,050 on Jan. 4, 2013. Police arrested Garcia at that time, recovering a large butcher knife from his front pants pocket, police reports indicate. He could not be reached for comment.
• Marleny Gutierrez, 20, of Wheeling. Having obtained a search warrant for Gutierrez's home, officers spotted her leaving her home and getting into a car driven by another person on Jan. 11, 2013, records show. Police stopped the car and detained the driver, who they said had $1,600 in cash. After searching the home, the officers recovered 3.2 grams of cocaine and 16.8 grams of cannabis, police reports say. She could not be reached for comment.
• Caesar Hernandez, 22, of South Beloit, Ill., and Christopher R. Nelson, 28, of Beloit, Wis. Police reports say Hernandez, nicknamed "Monster," agreed to meet a confidential informant at the parking lot of a Schaumburg bar on Aug. 7, 2012, to sell 2.5 ounces of cocaine for $1,300. Officers converged on the car driven by Nelson and retrieved from Hernandez's front pocket a loaded .357 Ruger handgun that had been reported stolen from Janesville, Wis, reports say. Officers recovered a total of 44.08 grams of cocaine from the car, according the the police report. Hernandez, who was on parole for the manufacture and delivery of cocaine at the time, was charged with armed violence. Nelson was wanted on a warrant in Winnebago County at the time of his arrest. Illinois Department of Corrections records indicate Hernandez is in custody. Their lawyers did not respond to a call seeking comment.
• Christopher Koeller, 33, of Arlington Heights. On March 16, 2012, Cichy contacted Koeller, also known as "Lucky," to purchase Ecstasy, and arranged to meet him at a Woodfield Mall restaurant, reports indicate. He arrived in a car driven by another man, who, according to police reports, pushed Hudak in the chest and kicked O'Brien in the groin when Hudak tried to arrest him. Police reported they recovered 20 Ecstasy pills and 9.3 grams of cocaine. Koeller was charged with delivery of Ecstasy. The other man was charged with intent to deliver cocaine, resisting arrest and battery to a police officer. His lawyer said Koeller declined to be interviewed because he has another case pending.
• Raina Lewerenz, 19, of Franklin Park. Lewerenz had two Ecstasy pills at the time of her arrest in November 2012 on possession of a controlled substance charges, court records show. Her lawyer did not return calls seeking comment.
• Xavier Neodina, 30, of Streamwood. Officers obtained a search warrant for Neodina's home where, on Oct. 25, 2012, they recovered 119 grams of heroin and 68 grams of cocaine, report show. Police also recovered a loaded Smith & Wesson AR-15, a loaded .410 caliber handgun, a loaded .22 caliber Ruger and two other handguns, which Neodina's former lawyer Robert Irsuto said were registered to his client, who he said had a firearm owner's identification card. Neodina was charged with possession and intent to deliver cocaine and heroin and armed violence.
• Tommy Phillips, 27, of Elgin. Elgin police charged Phillips with intent to deliver a controlled substance in July 2011 after authorities say they found a bag containing 16.8 grams of cocaine in his car ashtray. Working on a tip from one of the former Schaumburg officers' confidential informants, Elgin police set up a sting that led to Phillips' arrest. Kane County prosecutors dropped the charges against Phillips in January. Phillips could not be reached for comment.
• Efren Rosales, 18, of Palatine. According to court records, police charged Rosales with delivering a total of 28 grams of cocaine on three separate occasions during October 2012. His lawyer did not respond to calls seeking comment.
• Richard Roh, 33, of Lincolnshire. Police charged Roh with possession of cannabis on March 1, 2012, after a confidential informant told them he was to meet with Roh at the Streets of Woodfield to purchase 1 pound of cannabis for $4,300. Reports say officers knew the make and model of the car Roh would be driving and watched as Roh committed a traffic violation for which the officer stopped him. The officer reported detecting a strong odor of cannabis from inside the vehicle. Searching Roh's vehicle, O'Brien found 474 grams of cannabis in a backpack, police reported. Roh was released without charges but later turned himself in after declining to serve as an informant. Roh was charged with possession of cannabis. His background includes probation for thefts in 1999 and 1998 and 18 months special probation for an amended forgery charge from 1997. His lawyer did not return calls seeking comment.
• David Russell. 36, of Elgin. An informant arranged to meet Russell in front of a home improvement store on Nov. 10, 2010, where the informant introduced Hudak, who purchased cocaine from Russell, police reports show. Police recovered a total of 42.5 grams of cocaine, they reported. Russell was released pending his cooperation, but officers subsequently were unable to find him. A judge issued a warrant for his arrest. He was also wanted on a warrant in Chicago. His lawyer reported he has not heard from Russell.
• Robert Thomas, 29, of Hanover Park. On Oct. 2 and 30, 2012, a Cichy and Hudak informant purchased a total of 2.4 grams of cocaine from Thomas at Thomas' home, records show. Police report that on Nov. 1, 2012, officers executed a search warrant and recovered 29 grams of cocaine and 4.4 grams of heroin. Thomas was charged with unlawful possession of heroin and cocaine with intent to deliver. Court records describe Thomas as an "admitted addict." He has another case pending on possession of cannabis. His lawyer said Thomas declined to be interviewed because he fears police reprisal.
• Kyle Wenk, 21, of Elburn. Wenk was charged with unlawful delivery of Ecstasy on May 16, 2012, at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. Police report he sold 49 pills to an informant in exchange for $575. Court records show he was arrested on Sept. 26, 2012, in Kane County on a charge of delivery of cannabis. His criminal background includes convictions for possession of cannabis in 2011, DUI in 2010 and delivery of a controlled substance in 2009. His lawyer did not return calls seeking comment.
-- Barbara Vitello, firstname.lastname@example.org