Updated 01/17/13 – 12:14 p.m.
SCHAUMBURG (CBS) – Bond was set at $750,000 for three Schaumburg police officers accused of drug trafficking.
The three, who are tactical officers and members of a special investigation unit, allegedly stole drugs from dealers and had them resold for them through an informant. The drugs were supposed to be kept as evidence for trial.
DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin said the officers did not count on that informant turning on them, when Carol Stream police arrested him on another charge two weeks ago.
“What began as a routine narcotics investigation quickly evolved into something much more sinister,” Berlin said. “The officers had actually discussed how they would rip drug dealers off, and they would put only a small amount of the drugs into evidence, and charge the drug dealers with actually less than they possessed, knowing full well that any drug dealer would never complain that they were actually charged with a smaller amount of drugs.”
The officers, John Cichy, Matthew Hudak and Terrance O’Brien, were placed on administrative leave, pending the results of the criminal investigation.
Jack Riley, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office, said “no matter who you are – federal, state, or local law enforcement – your badge took a dig, and for me, quite frankly, it makes me sick to my stomach.”
O’Brien, prosecutors said, was leading a double life–with a wife and kids in one household, as well as a girlfriend and a son in another.
That girlfriend, 44-year-old Nicole Brehm, has been charged with holding some of the drugs for the officers. She’s being held on $150,000 bond.
O’Brien has been a police officer in Schaumburg for more than 20 years. Prosecutors said O’Brien claimed he took part in the operation as a thrill.
The officers face dozens of years in prison if convicted.
Sources said federal investigators searched lockers and an inventory room at the Schaumburg police station on Wednesday.
Wednesday night, armed officers descended on the Algonquin home of one of three Schaumburg police officers who was arrested. Police taped off the property and searched for evidence, then later allowed a woman and two children to enter the home.
It was all quiet at the Streamwood home of another of the accused officers Wednesday night, but neighbors said hours earlier the street was lined with unmarked police cars.
In a statement, Schaumburg Police Chief Brian Howerton said, “The Village and the Schaumburg Police Department have been in contact with the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office and it has pledged its ongoing assistance to investigators going forward.”
The village also launched an internal investigation of the officers’ actions.