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Another co-defendant in cocaine distribution conspiracy case involving former NFL player Sam Hurd pleads guilty

DALLAS, Texas – A San Antonio man who is charged in a federal superseding indictment with his cousin, former professional football player Samuel George Hurd III, appeared in federal court Wednesday and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. This guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

Jesse Tyrone Chavful, 46, of San Antonio, Texas, faces a statutory sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison, and a $10 million fine. Sentencing is set for Jan. 30 before U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis.

The indictment charges Hurd with the following crimes:

  • one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance,
  • one count of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance,
  • two counts of attempting to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and
  • two counts of committing a felony offense while on pre-trial release.

A trial date of Dec. 3 is set for Hurd, who remains in custody.

According to plea documents filed in the Chavful case, from July 2011 through early June 2012, Chavful agreed to help Hurd acquire cocaine to sell to others. While Hurd played professional football for the Dallas Cowboys, he conspired with others to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana. This conspiracy continued after he changed teams and began playing professional football for the Chicago Bears.

During the Fall of 2011, Chavful conspired with Hurd to obtain 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of cocaine for Hurd to distribute to others. According to the factual resume, while Hurd was playing football for the Chicago Bears, he contacted Chavful and asked him to find 10 kilograms of cocaine. Chavful then met with confidential informants (CI) at his T-shirt shop in San Antonio and negotiated for 10 kilograms of cocaine for Hurd. On Nov. 10, 2011, Chavful and a CI discussed drug loads going "north," that is, to Hurd in Chicago. Chavful advised the CI not to worry about the payment because Hurd had money. Chavful also cautioned the CI that Hurd could not be present when the drugs were delivered because of media concerns.

During the Spring of 2012, while on pre-trial release for pending federal drug offenses, Hurd met with Chavful at his San Antonio T-shirt shop and asked him to get him cocaine and marijuana. In late May, Chavful met with a CI and agreed to buy five kilograms of cocaine and 200 pounds of marijuana. He also told the CI that Hurd, whom he described as "the money," was in on the transaction and ready to move. On June 6, 2012, federal law enforcement officers arrested Chavful after the CI and an undercover officer delivered the drugs to Chavful. Chavful admitted that he had phoned Hurd that day, at the telephone number listed under "Big Sam" in his cell phone contacts, to let Hurd know about the drugs.

The third defendant in the case, Toby Lujan, 27, of Dallas, pleaded guilty Sept. 12, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. According to plea documents filed, Lujan admitted that in July 2011, he attempted to purchase several kilograms of cocaine for Hurd from a CI. Hurd gave Lujan $88,000 in cash to purchase the drugs and loaned him his Cadillac Escalade to conduct the transaction. Law enforcement officers stopped Lujan and seized the $88,000 from a canvas bag that also contained marijuana residue. Lujan continued to contact the CI about acquiring cocaine for Hurd. In December 2011, the CI and an undercover federal law enforcement officer, posing as a drug trafficker, met Hurd at a Chicago steakhouse. Hurd, who agreed to regularly purchase multiple kilogram quantities of cocaine from the CI and the undercover officer, accepted a kilogram of cocaine as a sample, and was arrested as he left the restaurant with the cocaine.

Lujan faces a statutory sentence of not less than five years or more than 40 years in prison, and a $5 million fine. His sentencing is set for Dec. 12, 2012, before Judge Solis.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is in charge of the investigation. Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Tromblay and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Kull are in charge of the prosecution.