Sam Hurd's cousin arrested in Texas

Updated: June 9, 2012, 12:28 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

The federal case in which former Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys receiver Sam Hurd was indicted for drug conspiracy took another twist Friday when it was announced that his cousin, Jesse Tyrone Chavful, was arrested this week in San Antonio on similar charges.

U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldana of the Northern District of Texas said Chavful, 46, faces charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.

Chavful made an initial appearance in federal court Thursday in San Antonio and will appear in U.S. District Court for another hearing on a date yet to be determined.

[+] EnlargeSam Hurd
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhJesse Tyrone Chavful allegedly said he'd set up marijuana purchases and deliveries on Sam Hurd's behalf for years because the receiver "could not take the risk."

According to the criminal complaint, agents with the Department of Homeland Security Investigations interviewed a "cooperating defendant," who led them to Chavful.

Chavful, in a meeting with other cooperating defendants in October 2011, negotiated to purchase marijuana at a price of $300 per pound and approximately 10 to 15 kilograms of cocaine at $23,000 per kilogram on behalf of Hurd, the complaint says.

According to the affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, Chavful is a cousin of Hurd, who along with Toby Lujan was indicted in January on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

Undercover agents arrested Hurd, 26, at a Morton's Steakhouse in Rosemont, Ill., in December 2011 after an investigation dating to July 2011 showed the receiver allegedly had attempted to buy large amounts of cocaine and marijuana.

On May 1, agents interviewed a cooperating defendant who claimed to have met with Chavful at his place of business in San Antonio with another cooperating defendant, and observed Chavful "wearing a Dallas Cowboy shirt that displayed the name and picture of Hurd, and that there were several photographs and posters of Hurd sporting a Dallas Cowboys uniform displayed within the business," the complaint read.

The complaint alleges during the meeting Chavful told one of the defendants that Hurd was his cousin, adding that the receiver "was purchasing approximately 1,500 kilograms of marijuana from Los Angeles, Calif. for delivery in the Chicago area."

One of the defendants stated Chavful said Hurd was interested in finding a distributor of marijuana who could supply approximately 1,000 to 2,000 kilograms of "hydroponic marijuana on a weekly basis to keep up with the demand."

Chavful also allegedly revealed he was coordinating the purchase on Hurd's behalf and would pay cash for the delivery, adding that his "little cousin Sam" sold cocaine and he would contact the receiver "to inquire as to what Hurd wanted to do." Chavful told one of the defendants he'd coordinated marijuana purchases and deliveries on Hurd's behalf for several years because the receiver "could not take the risk."

One of the cooperating defendants had telephone conversations on Oct. 31, 2011, and Nov. 10, 2011, with Chavful, in which negotiations to purchase drugs referenced Hurd as the potential buyer, according to the complaint, utilizing a phone number identified by investigators as having been used by Hurd on Dec. 14, 2011, to communicate with a confidential informant.

The complaint references calls made on Nov. 10 in which Chavful and one of the defendants engaged in discussions about Chavful and Hurd "wanting drug loads going 'North' " (meaning the Chicago area) from Texas, and Chavful advising the cooperating defendant not to worry because Hurd had plenty of money to pay for the drugs.

Another call referenced in the complaint alleges Chavful advised that the receiver couldn't be on the scene, with one of the defendants responding that "he understood because of Hurd's status and the media."

In May, agents interviewed a third cooperating defendant who stated he assisted another of the defendants in the delivery of marijuana to Chavful.

The third defendant estimated he delivered approximately 20 to 25 tons of marijuana to Chavful between "approximately 1998 and 2003." From 2004 to 2011, that defendant didn't communicate with Chavful, who had been arrested at some point during that period.

The third defendant re-established communication with Chavful on or around August 2011 at Chavful's place of business and asked Chavful if he wanted cocaine. Chavful said no, "but stated he had a cousin up North (Hurd) who might be interested," the complaint read. Clavful allegedly showed one of the defendants pictures of Hurd and told him he "was going to call his cousin to try to make a deal."

On May 23, at the direction of agents, the third cooperating defendant met with Chavful in San Antonio. During the meeting there was a "lengthy narcotics-related conversation" that included "a discussion about Hurd's arrest."

During the discussion, Chavful allegedly "corroborated that he previously negotiated on Hurd's behalf."

After entering Chavful's place of business, Chavful showed the third defendant a picture of Hurd and informed him "that his cousin had a hydro(ponic marijuana) shop in California," the complaint said.

Eventually, Chavful negotiated to purchase 5 kilograms of cocaine at $23,000 apiece and 200 pounds of marijuana from the third cooperating defendant.

In early June, the third defendant contacted Chavful to set up a meeting in which 5 kilograms of cocaine and 250 pounds of marijuana would be delivered. Chavful told the third defendant "that he had a back gate and he would have it unlocked" so the defendant "could drive it to the back door."

Upon delivery of the drugs by an undercover agent at Chavful's place of business, another person called "J.R." in the complaint attempted to unload the drugs before fleeing when San Antonio police arrived.

He was later apprehended, and Chavful was placed under arrest.

After executing a search warrant on Chavful's business, agents found residue that field-tested for marijuana, narcotics paraphernalia, and an empty bundle wrapping (used to secure marijuana) that also field-tested for marijuana.

Database inquiries by authorities revealed Chavful is currently on federal probation until Feb. 12, 2013. He had previously been sentenced to 60 months of jail and five years of supervised release for carrying a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime. He also had been previously convicted on drug charges in 1996 and 1993.

A free-agent acquisition from the Cowboys in July 2011, Hurd played in 12 games for the Bears as primarily a special-teams contributor and caught eight passes for 109 yards on offense.

Roy Williams, a former teammate of Hurd with the Cowboys and Bears, said he was "just shocked about the situation" shortly after the December arrest.

"I know it has to be tough for him because he has a family, and that's a choice that he made," Williams said. "There's consequences with the choices that you make."

Hurd is out on bond pending trial, which is scheduled for Aug. 6.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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