A former Schaumburg police narcotics officer took responsibility for his role in running an illicit drug operation with two fellow cops before he was sentenced Tuesday to 26 years in prison.
“The path I chose led me to the darkest chapter of my life,” Matthew Hudak told a DuPage County judge after pleading guilty to felony counts of armed violence, burglary, official misconduct and unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.
Authorities alleged Hudak, 30, and fellow officers Terrance O’Brien and John Cichy ran a freelance drug ring over a six-month period, forcing a drug dealer to sell narcotics that the officers confiscated in the line of duty, and then splitting money from the sales.
The trio were arrested in January 2013, after Carol Stream police learned of the operation. Local and federal law enforcement set up a sting and taped the Schaumburg cops stealing $20,000, which they believed was drug money, from a storage locker.
Hudak told Judge Blanche Hill Fawell Tuesday that he was incapable of explaining the magnitude of his remorse or the effects that his acts had on his family and law enforcement in general.
“I don’t think there are any winners,” his attorney, Thomas Glasgow, said after the hearing.
Hudak, of Algonquin, will likely serve about 13 years in prison, authorities said. As he was led to jail after his plea, he looked toward his wife and appeared to silently mouth the words: “I love you.”
Shortly before Hudak’s plea, Cichy appeared in the same courtroom, where the judge set an Oct. 21 trial date for him.
Glasgow said it is likely Hudak will testify against Cichy, 31. O’Brien pleaded guilty last month and received a similar sentence to Hudak’s. As part of his plea deal, O’Brien, 47, formerly of Palatine, agreed to testify in any trials.
Glasgow said the arrest had been “humbling and humiliating” for his client, but said Hudak had been “extremely relieved to tell the truth while holding nothing back.”
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin, in a statement, called Hudak’s actions “despicable.”
“He violated the oath he took to serve and protect and for that he will pay a significant price,” Berlin said.
The arrests shook the Schaumburg Police Department and prompted an internal review from the village. The department abolished the Special Investigations Unit in which the three officers worked and which a hired consultant said had too little supervision.
In its place, the department created a Special Operations Tactical Unit, which has officers who are not undercover or in plain clothes but who investigate drug-related and other recurring street-level crimes.
The department has called the three officers’ arrests “an unfortunate chapter (that is) closed and behind us.”
Tribune reporter Robert McCoppin contributed.Copyright © 2015, CT Now