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18-year sentence for crooked Chicago cop

Former Police Officer Glenn Lewellen  federal court Dirksen building Chicago. File pho |  Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

Former Police Officer Glenn Lewellen at federal court at the Dirksen building in Chicago. File photo | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: June 22, 2013 6:28AM

A crooked Chicago cop who teamed up with a violent crew of kidnapping drug dealers was sentenced to 18 years behind bars Monday.

Relieved he’d dodged a potential life sentence, Glenn Lewellen, 57, smiled and gave relatives a thumbs-up after Judge Joan Gottschall sentenced him in federal court.

He helped drug dealer and paid police informant Saul Rodriguez and his crew avoid capture for years, tipping them off about police operations and a federal wiretap. Evidence at his trial last year showed he also helped them kidnap their rivals in shake downs and robberies that netted 250 kilos of cocaine and $3 million, prosecutors say.

Pleading for mercy on Monday, Lewellen said he knew he had “a debt that I have to pay to society” but declined to address any of the allegations against him in detail.

He instead spoke at length about his religious conversion since he realized the feds were onto him in 2008.

Saying he’d been “saved and baptized” and blaming his mistakes in life on his parents’ alcoholism, he said he wanted to help children and victims of domestic abuse.

“I’m not the same person I was in 2008,” he said. “I believe I have a lot to offer.”

Prosecutor Steven Block urged a 30-year sentence, saying Lewellen was a “dirty cop” who acted out of “pure greed” and “has not taken responsibility” for crimes that victimized “the people of Chicago.”

But defense attorney Andrea Gambino asked Gottschall to give Lewellen the minimum mandatory sentence — 10 years.

And Gottschall said she believed Lewellen’s faith made him a “new person” who should be allowed to live in hope of being reunited with his family.

Though prosecutors argued Lewellen’s conduct was worse because he was a police officer, his sentence was shorter than several of his codefendants in the drug crew. Crew member Jorge Urirate was previously sentenced to 60 years; Hector Uriarte received 50 years, and trial defendants, Tony Sparkman and Robert Cardena, received 42 years and 10 years.

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