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Sam Hurd pleads guilty to federal drug charge

By Jared S. Hopkins, Chicago Tribune –

CHICAGO — In paperwork filed Tuesday, former Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd pleaded guilty to a federal drug charge, but his lawyer later said the government had filed the documents “prematurely” with inaccurate information.

According to documents filed in federal court in Dallas, Hurd pleaded to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least 5 kilograms of cocaine. He would be due to face at least 10 years in prison.

But Jay Ethington, Hurd’s Dallas-based attorney, described those documents as, “in effect, draft documents.”

He added: “The court documents appear that they will be withdrawn. The language in those documents had not been agreed to.”

A judge still must approve of any plea deal. Hurd originally pleaded not guilty to two federal drugs charges after he was accused of trying to set up a massive drug network in Chicago.

“We have been in negotiations … and final decision or resolution had not been achieved before they were filed,” Ethington said.

The charges stem from a December arrest in which he allegedly told an informant and undercover officer at a Chicago-area restaurant he wanted to buy multiple kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana each week to distribute. Hurd was given a kilogram of cocaine and when he got in his car, he was taken into custody, capping a six-month investigation.

The Bears — who used Hurd mostly on special teams — later cut ties with the former Northern Illinois receiver.

After his indictment in January, Hurd was out on supervised release and living with his sister in his native San Antonio. But he returned to jail last month after a judge revoked his bond for failing two drug tests and allegedly trying to purchase drugs while out on bail.

Hurd’s attorney said the factual resume — a document in which Hurd acknowledges certain allegations — contained inaccurate information. He did not say that the plea deal itself was inaccurate, only “inoperative” without the resume.

“They want us to agree with their version, and we want them to agree to our version,” Ethington said.

Efforts to reach the U.S. Attorney’s Office for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Ethington wasn’t sure when the matter would be resolved but said, “Yes, there’s a possibility of a plea of guilty if the final terms can be agreed upon.”

Hurd’s San Antonio attorney, Michael McCrum, said a lingering disagreement with the government remains over the role of Jesse Tyrone Chavful, Hurd’s cousin and a co-defendant in the case who has lengthy history of drug arrests.

“We absolutely disagree that Sam Hurd was a drug lord or some big drug trafficking monster,” McCrum said.

Last week, Hurd’s friend and co-codefendant, 27-year-old Toby Lujan pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine. Under his plea agreement, he would be sentenced from five to 40 years in prison.

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