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Hurd allegedly oversaw Chicago drug ring

Friday, December 16, 2011
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Chicago Bears player Sam Hurd appeared in federal court Thursday, accused of trying to set up a drug distribution network in the Chicago area.

Hurd will spend the night in jail after being arrested on federal drug charges. The wide receiver allegedly told an undercover federal agent he sells around four kilos of cocaine a week in the Chicago area.

Hurd was taken into custody at a Rosemont restaurant Wednesday for allegedly trying to purchase drugs from a North District of Texas supplier "to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine," according to the complaint filed against Hurd.

He is being held in a federal jail in Chicago, but his drug charges were filed in Texas. During a Thursday court appearance, the U.S. attorney in Texas asked for Hurd to be held without bail, but a Chicago U.S. attorney feels some bond can be worked out. They and Hurd's attorney will reconvene in front of the judge on Friday at 2 p.m. Hurd will be sent back to Texas to face the charges.

Hurd's attorney, Brett Greenfield of California says that after meeting with federal prosecutors in Chicago late Thursday, they are hopeful he will be released on bond Friday.

"Sam stands ready to fight this case, and we're going to take it step by step and we're going to take it day to day," said Greenfield.

The investigation into drug dealing allegations began in July 2011, according to the complaint, after authorities received a tip that Hurd -- through a coconspirator -- wanted to allegedly buy four kilograms of cocaine while he was in Dallas, where he played football for the Cowboys. It outlines a sizable and lucrative drug operation that Hurd is accused of overseeing. The complaint was filed in Texas through the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency because it involves Mexican cartels.

The investigation began last summer when Hurd, himself, was questioned by federal agents after a car registered in his name was pulled over and authorities found marijuana and $88,000 cash. Hurd told them the money was for a car detail payment. The very next day, Hurd signed a three-year deal with the Bears for $5.1 million.

In mid August, feds say a Hurd associate negotiated a five kilo cocaine deal with a federal informant. In September, he allegedly wanted to meet the supplier, a meeting that was set last week for Wednesday night at Morton's Steakhouse in Rosemont. During that meeting, Hurd allegedly told the informant he wanted 5 to 10 kilos a week to supply his Chicago street operation, which, he allegedly said, was already up to about four kilograms of cocaine a week. In the parking lot, federal agents tackled the Bear and placed him under arrest.

At an event in support of the Salvation Army Thursday night, Bears teammate Earl Bennet reacted to the charges.

"Definitely surprised. Sam's an upbeat guy, he's a Christian guy, it's just tragic," said Bennet.

The feds refuse to comment on reports that other NFL players could be involved.

"It appears he was a full time drug dealer and a part time football player if you believe what the feds say," said Lester Munson, ESPN legal analyst. "If it turns out other players are involved...that would be the NFL's worst nightmare."

Hurd played for the Cowboys before coming to Chicago. The Chicago Bears issued the following statement Thursday, "We are aware of Sam's arrest and are continuing to gather details surrounding it. We are disappointed whenever these circumstances arise. We will deal with them appropriately once we have all the information."

Hurd, who attended Northern Illinois University, has a three-year contract with the team.

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