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Nation & World

Hurd's cousin to plead guilty in drug case

DALLAS – A cousin of former Northern Illinois and Bears receiver Sam Hurd has agreed to plead guilty in connection with allegations that Hurd tried to establish a drug-distribution network, according to documents filed by prosecutors.

Jesse Tyrone Chavful signed a plea agreement Monday on one count of conspiracy to possess five or more kilograms of cocaine – 11 pounds or more – with intent to distribute. The plea agreement calls for a minimum of 10 years in prison.

According to the agreement, Hurd asked Chavful last year to find him 10 kilograms of cocaine.

Chavful then allegedly tried to arrange a deal with people who turned out to be federal informants. He was recorded in November telling an informant “not to worry about the payment for the drugs because Hurd had money,” the agreement said.

Chavful also told the informant that “Hurd could not be on the ‘scene’ ” when drugs were delivered, according to the agreement.

Hurd is accused of trying to set up a ring to distribute cocaine and marijuana. He was arrested in December outside a Chicago-area steakhouse after allegedly accepting cocaine from an undercover agent. According to court documents, Hurd took 1 kilogram – 2.2 pounds – of cocaine and told the officer he wanted to eventually buy five to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week to distribute in the Chicago area.

The San Antonio native was cut by the Bears after his arrest. He has also played for the Dallas Cowboys.

Hurd was released on bond, but re-arrested and held after failing two drug tests and allegedly trying to set up another drug deal with Chavful’s help. According to the plea agreement, Chavful admitted that he agreed to purchase 5 kilograms of cocaine and 200 pounds of marijuana from someone who turned out to be another informant. He said he called Hurd – listed in his cellphone contacts as “Big Sam” – to let him know the deal had been arranged.

Hurd has previously pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors last month filed a guilty plea agreement signed by Hurd. But Hurd’s attorney, Jay Ethington, said the document was a draft and no plea agreement had been reached. The U.S. attorney’s office has not withdrawn the plea documents, and Hurd is expected to appear in court today.

Ethington reiterated on Tuesday that he thought Chavful was lying.

“It’s Chavful’s attempt to shift blame and save himself from a long prison sentence,” he said.

Chavful’s attorney, Laura Harper, said her client did not plead guilty for less prison time.

“Rather, he is truthfully admitting what he did because he believes that it is the right thing to do,” she said.

A third person charged in the alleged conspiracy, Toby Lujan, has already pleaded guilty to a cocaine possession charge.

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