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ICE arrests NFL player in Chicago on federal drug charge

DALLAS – Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested Chicago Bears football player Samuel George Hurd III, 26, of Lake Forest, Ill., Wednesday night on a criminal complaint charging conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Hurd is scheduled to make his initial appearance late this afternoon in federal court in Chicago. These charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Alysa Erichs of ICE HSI in Dallas.

According to the filed complaint, the investigation began in July 2011 when ICE HSI in Dallas was advised by a confidential informant that an individual, known as “T.L.,” was attempting to arrange the purchase of about four kilograms (8.8 pounds) of cocaine for an unknown buyer, who was later identified as Hurd. So, at the direction of ICE HSI agents, the confidential informant coordinated a meeting with T.L. to purchase the cocaine. A coordinated traffic stop was arranged, and a subsequent search of T.L.’s vehicle revealed a canvas bag that contained $88,000 in cash and a leafy material that tested positive for the properties of marijuana.

T.L. abandoned all interest in the currency and stated that the money belonged to Hurd, whom he had known for a considerable time. T.L. stated that he conducts maintenance on Hurd’s vehicles and that Hurd routinely left large amounts of currency in his vehicles. Subsequently, Hurd advised ICE HSI that he owned the $88,000 seized from T.L. Hurd advised ICE HSI that he had made a withdrawal and wire transfer of funds on July 25, 2011, and that he had personally packed and placed the $88,000, along with assorted items, into his vehicle before turning it over to T.L. for maintenance and detailing. The bank statement that Hurd provided to ICE HSI did not accurately reflect the transactions and amounts claimed by Hurd.

In August 2011, T.L. negotiated with the confidential informant to purchase cocaine on behalf of Hurd. In September 2011, T.L. phoned the informant and advised that his associates from Chicago were in Dallas and were interested in purchasing five kilograms of cocaine. T.L. stated that the buyer (Hurd) wanted to meet with the informant, but T.L. later advised that Hurd was unavailable because of his NFL obligations, but that Hurd’s cousins were available to complete the transaction. T.L. agreed to email the informant a photo of the money; however, that photo was never received.

In phone conversations earlier this month, Hurd advised the confidential informant that he was interested in purchasing five kilograms of cocaine and indicated that he was interested in setting up continued business with the informant and his associates. The informant advised Hurd that he/she would be in the Chicago area soon, after which Hurd said that he would be interested in meeting to negotiate prices, discuss quantities and establish a long-term business relationship.

The complaint further states that Hurd met with an ICE HSI undercover agent at a restaurant in Chicago in the evening of Dec. 14. Hurd introduced himself as the “Sam” that had been communicating with the confidential informant. Hurd stated that he was interested in purchasing five to 10 kilograms of cocaine, at $25,000 per kilogram, and 1,000 pounds of marijuana at $450 per pound, per week for distribution in the Chicago area. Hurd said that he and another co-conspirator currently distribute about four kilograms of cocaine per week in Chicago, but that his supplier couldn’t supply him with enough quantity. Hurd went on to say that his co-conspirator is in charge of doing the majority of the deals, while he focuses on the higher-end deals. Hurd also stated that some money had been seized from him in Dallas, but that seizure couldn’t be associated with him. After they finished negotiating, the undercover agent presented Hurd with a kilogram of cocaine that Hurd accepted. Hurd stated that he plays for the Chicago Bears, and that he gets out of practice at about 5:30 p.m., after which he would make arrangements to pay for the kilogram of cocaine. Hurd left the restaurant with the bag of cocaine and was arrested shortly thereafter in the parking lot of the restaurant.

A federal criminal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The maximum statutory penalty, however, for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine is 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine. The U.S. Attorney’s office has 30 days to present the matter to a grand jury for indictment.

Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Tromblay and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Kull are in charge of the prosecution.

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