Federal grand jury in Dallas indicts former NFL player and co-conspirator on cocaine distribution conspiracy charges following ICE investigation
DALLAS – A federal grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday charging Samuel George Hurd III and Toby Lujan each with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Hurd, 26, of Lake Forest, Ill., most recently played professional football for the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys.
Hurd was arrested by ICE HSI agents on Dec. 14, 2011, on a criminal complaint charging conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of Illinois who released him on bond. Hurd's next court appearance will be in federal court in Dallas for arraignment on a date to be set by the court. An arrest warrant has been issued for Lujan, 26, of Dallas.
According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, in July 2011, a confidential informant advised ICE HSI that an individual, now known as Toby Lujan, was attempting to arrange the purchase of about four kilograms (nine pounds) of cocaine for an unknown buyer, who was later identified as Hurd. At the direction of ICE HSI agents, the confidential informant coordinated a meeting with Lujan to purchase the cocaine. A coordinated traffic stop was arranged and a subsequent search of Lujan's vehicle revealed a canvas bag containing $88,000 in cash.
The complaint further states that Lujan abandoned all interest in the currency and stated that the money belonged to Hurd, whom he had known for a considerable time. Lujan stated that he performs maintenance on Hurd's vehicles, and that Hurd routinely left large amounts of currency in his vehicles. Later, Hurd advised ICE HSI that he was the owner of the $88,000 seized from Lujan. He further advised ICE HSI that he had made a withdrawal and wire transfer of funds on July 25, 2011. Hurd also stated that he had personally packed and placed the $88,000, along with assorted items, into his vehicle before turning it over to Lujan for maintenance and detailing. The bank statement that Hurd provided to ICE HSI did not accurately reflect the transactions and amounts claimed by Hurd.
In August 2011, Lujan negotiated with the confidential informant to purchase cocaine on behalf of Hurd, according to the complaint. The following month, Lujan phoned the confidential informant and advised that his associates from Chicago were in Dallas and were interested in purchasing five kilograms of cocaine. Lujan advised that the buyer (Hurd) wanted to meet with the informant. However, Lujan later advised that Hurd was unavailable because of his NFL obligations, but Hurd's cousins were available to complete the transaction. Lujan agreed to email the confidential informant a photo of the money. That photo, however, was never received.
According to the complaint, in phone conversations last month, Hurd advised the confidential informant that he was interested in purchasing five kilograms of cocaine and indicated that he was interested in setting up continued business with the confidential informant and his associates. The confidential informant advised Hurd that he/she would be in the Chicago area soon, after which Hurd said that he would be interested in meeting to negotiate prices, discuss quantities, and establish a long-term business relationship.
The complaint further states that on the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011, Hurd met with an ICE HSI undercover agent at a restaurant in Chicago. Hurd introduced himself as the "Sam" that had been communicating with the confidential informant. Hurd stated that he was interested in purchasing on a weekly basis five to 10 kilograms of cocaine, at $25,000 per kilogram, and 1,000 pounds of marijuana, at $450 per pound, for distribution in the Chicago area. Hurd, according to the complaint, said that he and another co-conspirator currently distribute about four kilograms of cocaine per week in Chicago, but that his supplier couldn't supply him with enough quantity. Hurd went on to say that his co-conspirator is in charge of doing the majority of the deals while he focuses on the "higher-end" deals. Hurd also stated that some money had been seized from him in Dallas, but that seizure couldn't be associated with him. After they finished negotiating, the undercover agent presented Hurd with a kilogram of cocaine, which Hurd accepted. Hurd stated that he plays for the Chicago Bears and that he gets out of practice at about 5:30 p.m., after which he would make arrangements to pay for the kilogram of cocaine. Hurd left the restaurant with the bag of cocaine and was arrested shortly thereafter in the parking lot of the restaurant.
A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, the conspiracy count carries a statutory sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison and a $10 million fine. The possession with intent to distribute count carries, upon conviction, a statutory sentence of not less than five years and up to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation which would require the defendants, upon conviction, to forfeit to the government all property obtained, directly or indirectly, or used to commit or facilitate, the offenses of conviction.
Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Tromblay and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Kull are in charge of the prosecution.