Former Cop Goes on Trial for Drug Trafficking

Prosecutors say Lewellen used paid informant to help

By Lacey McCraney
|  Wednesday, Nov 16, 2011  |  Updated 8:51 AM CDT
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Opening statements begin in the trial of a former Chicago police officer accused of using a paid police informant to run an elaborate drug trafficking ring.

Glenn Lewellen, 55, and five others face federal charges in the case.

Prosecutors say Lewellen made ties with Saul Rodriguez, a police informant, then helped him and others pull off kidnappings, robberies and murder, earning millions of dollars in cash and drugs, according to the Chicago Tribune.

They also told the court Lewellen, who held his position from 1986 to 2002, used his powers to protect Rodriguez and his group, even derailing a federal investigation into Rodriguez and falsely testifying in court to protect him.

But, Rodriguez has turned on Lewellen and has become the star witness for the prosecution in the case. He says Lewellen told him to continue to run the drug ring as a way to find targets for robberies.

Rodriguez plead guilty to three counts of racketeering and murder in aid of racketeering and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors after being arrested in 2009 during a police sting in which he thought he was about to cash in on $16 million worth of cocaine.

During his opening statements, Lewellen's attorney Matthew Madden said Rodriquez is an untrustworthy witness, claiming that while in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center downtown, that he used a smuggled cell phone to make 1,000 calls.

Madden went on to say that by the former informant getting a hold of a cell phone, it proves how far his reach remains and could mean that he would have the ability to convince others to go along with his story of Lewellen's involvement in the crimes.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Correctional Center told the paper the allegation that Rodriguez obtained a cell phone while being incarcerated is being investigated.

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