Chicago Bears receiver Sam Hurd was arrested in Chicago on federal drug charges Wednesday night, and the criminal complaint against him describes Hurd as regularly dealing large amounts of drugs in Chicago.
Hurd allegedly attempted to purchase cocaine and marijuana from a supplier in North Texas, where the case will be adjudicated.
U.S. Magistrate Young Kim ordered Hurd held until at least Friday while prosecutors and defense attorneys work out bond details before he is sent to Texas to face charges. The handcuffed Hurd declined comment to a reporter before the hearing.
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.
“Sam intends to fight these charges, and we intend to defend him fully,” said high-profile defense attorney David Kenner, one of Hurd’s lawyers. “We have complete confidence in him.”
Kenner told The Associated Press that he and partner Brett Greenfield had not evaluated all of the information in the case. But Kenner — who successfully defended rapper Snoop Dogg against murder charges — said he had other cases where the evidence appeared to be stacked against his client.
“They start off looking terrible, and then we end up with `not guiltys,'” Kenner said.
Kenner and Greenfield said they expected Hurd to be released from custody Friday.
Hurd, 26, was arrested by undercover agents at a Chicago area steakhouse Wednesday night and was due to appear Thursday in federal court to face a charge that he did “possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more” of cocaine.
“We are aware of Sam’s arrest and are continuing to gather details surrounding it,” the Bears said in a statement. “We are disappointed whenever these circumstances arise. We will deal with them appropriately once we have all the information.”
The NFL also is looking into the arrest, according to league spokesman Greg Aiello.
Hurd’s agent Ian Greengross did not return calls seeking comment.
The investigation into Hurd’s attempt to buy large amounts of cocaine and marijuana began in July 2011, when he was still a member of the Dallas Cowboys, and concluded when he personally met with an undercover agent Wednesday at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Rosemont.
At that meeting, Hurd told the informant that he wanted to buy “five to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week for distribution in the Chicago area,” according to the complaint.
Hurd allegedly negotiated to pay $25,000 per kilogram for the cocaine and $450 per pound for the marijuana. The complaint says that Hurd “further stated that he and another co-conspirator currently distribute four kilograms of cocaine per week in the Chicago area, but that the supplier could not supply him with enough quantity.”
After they agreed on a price, the undercover agent gave Hurd a kilogram of cocaine, according to the complaint. Hurd told the agent that he plays for the Bears and would get out of practice at 5:30 p.m., at which time he would make arrangements to pay for the drugs. According to the complaint, Hurd then took the drugs and got in his car. He was promptly arrested.
Hurd hit authorities’ radar in July, when a confidential informant told police that a man was attempting to obtain four kilograms of cocaine for an unknown buyer in the Dallas area. That man was later stopped by police with $88,000 in a canvas bag. He said that the car and the money belonged to Hurd. Police confiscated the money, and Hurd later contacted authorities trying to get the money back.
Hurd was interviewed by police and admitted that he owned the car and had taken the money out of the bank, but authorities found that bank records did not match the amount.
Then in August, text messages and cellular phone records from a number used by Hurd showed up in relation to four individuals who were detained in California with currency, narcotics and weapons. The complaint states that the text message content “appeared to be consistent with narcotics trafficking and possible money laundering.”
In December, the confidential informant told the co-conspirator that he would have to meet Hurd to “discuss future business.” That led to the meeting in Chicago Wednesday, at which Hurd told the agent that his associate handles the majority of deals while he was involved in the “higher-end” deals.
A free-agent acquisition by the Bears from the Dallas Cowboys in July, Hurd has played in 12 games this season primarily as a special-teams contributor. As a receiver, Hurd had eight catches for 109 yards.
Bears coach Lovie Smith said the organization was surprised by the news.
“We came to work like we normally do on a Thursday. Sam wasn’t in meetings this morning,” Smith said. “From there of course we started searching, trying to find out why a player wouldn’t be here. So there was no tipoff, didn’t know it was coming. Again, total surprise.”
Bears linebacker Lance Briggs said: “I think everyone is (shocked). Nice guy. Sam is a nice guy. Well liked, well liked in the locker room. He was a guy we were just all getting to know.
“You hate to see this happen to anyone. We all make mistakes, but like I said, it’s just sad to see.”
Brian Urlacher also said Hurd seemed to be a good teammate.
“Sad for him,” Urlacher said. “Not sure what is going on. But never want to hear something like this happen to one of your teammates.
“Good teammate. That’s what I know of him. Outside of here, I don’t know him very well, but he comes to work every day and practices hard and plays hard. That’s all I know of him. He’s a friendly guy. Always been really friendly. Says ‘hi’ in the hallway every time you walk by him and I walk past him 10 times a day in the hallway and he still says ‘hi’ every time. He’s a good guy, from what I know of him from being in the building.”
Receiver Roy Williams, who is also in his first season with the Bears after spending three seasons with Hurd in Dallas, said it’s a tough situation for his teammate.
“I’m just shocked about the situation,” Williams said. “It’s a situation that I don’t want anyone to be in, especially a close friend or a teammate I’ve been playing with now four or five years now. Especially a guy from Texas, with a wife and daughter.
“It’s tough for me, just cause I’m not into drugs or anything like that. But I know it has to be tough for him, because he has his family, and that’s a choice that he made. And there’s consequences, with the choices that you make.”
In 2009, four years into his NFL career, Hurd established a charitable organization, Running with the Hurd, aimed at mentoring kids. The organization sponsored a football camp in the South Texas city of Harlingen last year.
In 2008, Hurd’s sister, Jawanda Newsome, told the San Antonio Express-News that her brother was paying to fix up their parents’ home as well as covering his younger brother’s junior college tuition.
Newsome said she worried about her brother because he was so prone to give his money away.
“Everyone knows he has a generous heart and is not the kind of person to say no,” said Newsome, who didn’t immediately return calls Thursday. “I kind of get upset because people take advantage of him.”
Hurd signed a three-year deal on July 30 that included a signing bonus of $1.3 million and will pay him base salaries of $685,000 in 2011, $865,000 in 2012, and $1 million in 2013.
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
As reported by ESPN