Feds: Bears’ Sam Hurd tried to buy huge amounts of cocaine, pot
BY DAVE NEWBART, SEAN JENSEN AND FRANK MAIN Staff Reporters December 15, 2011 10:43AM
Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd was arrested Wednesday after allegedly telling a federal agent he wanted to buy five to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week for distribution in the Chicago area. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times
Updated: January 17, 2012 8:18AM
Backup Chicago Bears receiver Sam Hurd wanted to make a big score — but not on the field, authorities said.
Hurd told an undercover federal agent who he thought was a drug supplier that he wanted to buy five to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week to distribute in the Chicago area, a federal complaint filed Thursday states.
In exchange, Hurd allegedly agreed to pay $25,000 per kilo and $450 per pound — which would amount to up to $2.8 million a month.
But instead, the feds arrested Hurd outside a Morton’s The Steakhouse in Rosemont after he accepted a kilo of cocaine from the agent and agreed to pay for it after he got out of practice Thursday — the day Bears players get paid, authorities said in a complaint filed in Texas.
Hurd, 26, faces charges he intended to conspire to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, which carries penalties of up to 40 years in prison and up to a $5 million fine.
The handcuffed Hurd declined to comment on the charges before a hearing Thursday at federal court downtown. Asked if he was still a member of the Bears, he said: “As far as I know.” He shook his head when asked if he had talked to anyone on the team.
At the hearing, federal Judge Young D. Kim ruled that Hurd must stand trial in Texas, where the charges were filed, unless he pleads guilty and waives his right to a trial.
Hurd — who appeared in court wearing black jeans, brown loafers and a gray T-shirt that showed off his chiseled biceps — will remain in custody at the downtown Metropolitan Correction Center until a bond hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday.
Asked via phone about the extensive details in the federal complaint, Hurd’s attorney, David Kenner, said, “This isn’t the first time that the initial report looks damning. But as cases move forward, things can change dramatically.”
Kenner, of Los Angeles, was the attorney for Death Row Records and successfully defended rapper Snoop Dogg against murder charges.
Earlier Thursday, Hurd’s teammates — including fellow receiver Roy Williams, who played three seasons with Hurd in Dallas — said they were shocked by the charges.
“It’s a situation that I don’t want anyone to be in, especially a close friend or a teammate,” Williams said. “Especially a guy from Texas, with a wife and daughter.”
Hurd is married to his Northern Illinois University sweetheart, Stacee Green, of Calumet City.
“It has to be tough for him, because he has his family, and that’s a choice that he made,” Williams said. “And there’s consequences, with the choices that you make.”
In Dallas, where Hurd played for five seasons before joining the Bears this year, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was visibly shaken when told of the accusations. None of the Cowboys would comment, but privately, many said the well-liked Hurd was one of the last people they would expect to be involved in drug trafficking.
The investigation began on July 27 in Dallas, according to an affidavit filed by George Ramirez, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Irving, Texas.
The affidavit, which was attached to the federal complaint, says a confidential informant told federal agents that a man — later identified as T.L., a “known Hurd co-conspirator” — came to him seeking to buy four kilos of cocaine for an unknown buyer, “later identified as Hurd.”
The informant said T.L. “wanted to complete the purchase of the cocaine at an early hour, as the buyer would be transporting the cocaine to a northern destination that same day,” the affidavit states.
The two coordinated a place to meet in Dallas, but federal agents arranged for a “routine traffic stop” of the car being driven by T.L. and found traces of marijuana and $88,000 in a canvas bag inside, the affidavit states. T.L. allegedly told authorities he did maintenance on Hurd’s cars and said the money and car belonged to Hurd. The money was seized, and T.L. was released.
Later that day, Hurd contacted federal agents, said he was a Dallas Cowboy, and said the money was his, the complaint states. He met with authorities the next day and said he had withdrawn the money from the bank and put it the car, which he gave to T.L. for “maintenance and detailing.”
Meanwhile, the Bears announced on July 29 that they had agreed to a three-year, $5.1 million deal with Hurd.
On Aug. 14, the affidavit states, T.L. went back to the informant to complete the drug buy on behalf of Hurd. He said Hurd was “currently out of town and still attempting to reclaim the seized $88,000.”
Authorities said they learned the following day that police in Denton, Texas, about 40 miles northwest of Dallas, had detained four people from California on July 25 with “currency, narcotics, and weapons.” A search of text messages found the suspects allegedly had been in touch with a number used by Hurd. “The text message content appeared to be consistent with narcotics trafficking and possible money laundering,” the affidavit states.
On Sept. 9, T.L. called the informant and said that “associates from Chicago” had traveled to Dallas and wanted to buy five kilos of cocaine, the affidavit states. T.L. allegedly said that “Hurd was unavailable due to NFL obligations, but that Hurd’s cousins were available to complete the transaction.”
In December, Hurd spoke with the informant over the phone and said that he wanted five kilos of cocaine, and told the informant to call him if he was ever in Chicago, the affidavit states.
T.L. then told the informant “that Hurd makes about $4,000,000 a year from the Chicago Bears and that Hurd would have the money ready. T.L. further claimed that Hurd had a previous narcotics connection that would supply Hurd narcotics valued at approximately $100,000 to $200,000 weekly,” the complaint states.
On Dec. 8, the informant told Hurd he was coming to Chicago. Hurd said that “he would be interested in meeting to negotiate prices, discuss quantities and establish a long-term business relationship,” the affidavit states.
Hurd’s party dined on $300 worth of filet mignon Wednesday. At the steakhouse, he told the undercover agent “his co-conspirator is in charge of doing the majority of the deals” while he focused on “higher-end deals,” the affidavit said. Hurd also allegedly told the agent that they already distribute four kilos of cocaine a week in the Chicago area, but his supplier couldn’t keep up with his demands.
Hurd also asked the agent if he could provide him with Mexican cell phone numbers, “as Hurd believed that law enforcement did not have the capability of ‘listening’ to Mexican telephones.” He even referenced the money that had been taken by authorities in Dallas, and claimed “the seizure of currency could not be associated to him.”
After taking the kilo of cocaine from the agent, he left the restaurant, put the cocaine in his car and was arrested, according to the affidavit.
In a statement, the Bears said the team is “disappointed whenever these circumstances arise” and said, “we will deal with them appropriately.” The NFL is also looking into the matter.
A native of San Antonio, Hurd starred at NIU, where he finished second in career receiving yards (2,322) and third in career receiving touchdowns (21).
For the Cowboys, and this year with the Bears, he largely played special teams but had eight catches for 109 receiving yards through the first 12 games of this season.
He also has a foundation, Running with the Hurd, aimed at mentoring children.
In an interview before the season, Hurd said he saw himself as a role model.
“I try to be a great leader, always, because my father, God, who put me in charge of my life, to be a leader in this world,” he said.
Contributing: Mark Potash, Mark Konkol, Dallas Morning News and AP