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December 15, 2011

NFL player arrested by feds for big-time drug dealing

As the weather turns ever colder, perhaps it is fitting that federal crime and punishment stories are about to turn from a baseball player like Barry Bonds (to be sentenced tomorrow) to a football player like the Chicago Bears' receiver Sam Hurd. And unlike in the Bonds case, this time around (as reported via this Chicago Tribune piece), the federal crime at issue is a big ticket one:

Chicago Bears receiver Sam Hurd was arrested Wednesday night outside a Chicago restaurant after he accepted a kilogram of cocaine from a confidential informant and an undercover federal agent posing as a drug supplier, according to federal charges filed Thursday in Dallas.

Hurd was charged with one count of conspiring to possess half a kilogram of cocaine with the intent to distribute it.  Hurd appeared in federal court in Chicago in late afternoon and will remain in custody overnight while his attorney arranges bond....

At the Wednesday night meeting, authorities allege that Hurd negotiated to buy five to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana a week for distribution in the Chicago area.  He agreed to pay $25,000 for each kilogram of cocaine and $450 a pound for the marijuana, according to the charges.  Hurd said at the meeting that he plays for the Bears, gets out of practice at about 5:30 p.m., and would pay them on the next day, authorities said. Bears players are paid on Thursdays.

Hurd told the undercover agent and informant that he and someone else distributed about four kilograms of cocaine each week in the Chicago area but that their supplier wasn't able to meet their needs, according to the criminal complaint....

Hurd, who played at Northern Illinois, signed a three-year contract with the Bears this offseason after playing the previous five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. The veteran receiver has been primarily a special teams contributor for the Bears. Bears receiver Roy Williams, who played with Hurd for three seasons with the Cowboys, said he was "shocked" by the news....

The complaint alleged that Hurd first came to the attention of federal authorities in July when the confidential informant tipped off agents that a man -- later learned to be a Hurd associate -- was attempting to coordinate the purchase of about four kilograms of cocaine in the Dallas area. The associate wanted to complete the deal that day so the buyer could transport the cocaine to a northern destination that same day, authorities charged....

Hurd's three-year contract with the Bears had a maximum value of $5.15 million ($4.15 million base total), and Hurd received a $1.35 million signing bonus. His base pay this season was $685,000. The Bears could pursue trying to recover some of the signing bonus.

Wowsa!  And, thanks to this link via ESPN, we can already read the criminal complaint stemming from the Northern District of Texas in US v. Hurd

If Hurd's really was involved in a big conspiracy to deal a huge amount of cocaine and marijuana — did he really negotiate "to buy five to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana a week"!?!? — he might soon be starting down a federal guidelines recommendation of an LWOP sentence and a mandatory minimum sentencing term of at least a decade.  This matter will thus be a very interesting case to watch in terms of the ultimate charges filed against Hurd and also any ensuing plea deal talk.

(P.S. to all big-time football fans: I was tempted to add a joke in this post about Tim Tebow or Michael Vick or Plaxico Buress, but the story is amazing enough on its own.  That said, good NFL jokes in the comments are always appreciate.)

UPDATE:  Professor Michael McCann, who is a sports law blogger and columnist, has this new piece at SI.com, which includes these notable snippets about how other NFL players may get involved in Hurd's federal criminal justice mess:

Early reports indicate that Hurd provided, or had in his possession, a list of clients. The list supposedly includes a sizable group of NFL players. Those players will likely be investigated by law enforcement and, upon threat of prosecution, encouraged to cooperate -- that is, implicate Hurd and others connected to the drug ring. Whether or not they cooperate, the players could be subpoenaed to testify against Hurd.

Alternatively, prosecutors could offer Hurd a plea deal. If he accepted a deal, Hurd would agree to plead guilty to a lesser crime or the crime he's facing, with prosecutors agreeing to recommend a relatively light sentence. In exchange, Hurd would be expected to tell law enforcement everything he knows and implicate everyone connected to his drug dealing, including any international contacts. In either scenario, the named players could be at risk of prosecution, subpoena or public naming.

December 15, 2011 at 07:04 PM | Permalink


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I don't understand this guy, why would he do this....Michael Vicke, yes it was poor judgement and he treated the dogs badly....He took it and came back...He has some character....

But Plaxico Burress, he was on top of his game.. He was the main reason the Giants beat the Packers, they could not contain him...Why would he need to carry a loaded firearm into a night club...Maybe I'm just not thuggy enough or am so not with the times.....I don't get it and not sure Burress does now..

Its sad to hear this guy has flushed his carerr and life down tubes..On the flip side, how many newbes were introduced to drugs from the stuff he peddled..
Thats the real tragedy.....Young lives hooked on drugs.....Bad boy..

Posted by: Josh2 | Dec 16, 2011 11:35:29 AM

When Tim Tebow takes a shower he doesn't get wet.
The water gets Tebowed.

Mat 10:22

Posted by: Adamakis | Dec 16, 2011 2:16:21 PM

Josh2 --

Very well put.

Why someone who makes an NFL salary needs to do this kind of stuff is well beyond me.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 17, 2011 4:06:30 PM

Hooray !!!

B.O. to the rescue! Isn't he swell? He can protect grown men and women, including professional athletes, from making their own decisions. Grown men and women cannot be trusted to make their own decisions about what to put in their bodies. So, B.O. will decide for them.

B.O. and his fellow crusaders say its OK (i.e., not unlawful) for grown men and women to smoke Marlboro cigarettes, but if you eat and/or furnish a brownie that has a little cannabis in it, even pursuant to the recommendation of a physician, B.O. and his brothers in arms in the drug war will put you in jail and take all your property pursuant to asset forfeiture laws.

Isn't the drug war great?

Aren't we lucky that our always-benevolent, invariably-competent government is there to protect us from our own decisions, and to lock us up for our own good?

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | Dec 17, 2011 4:50:16 PM


A few questions for you if I might, sir.

1. Is my personal fragrance OK with you tonight? The last time I heard this "B.O." stuff was in the fourth grade, but since you're making a point of it, I wanted to ask.

2. How do you manage to smell through a computer? That must be a neat trick. Please share.

3. While we're at it, is this the way you speak in court? Do you tell the judge, "The prosecutor doesn't smell so good, could you send him away?"

4. Do people who have strong analytical arguments behave as you're behaving?

5. You have said that Barack Obama and I are both "armed thugs." Does that mean that Mr. Obama also qualifies as "B.O."?

6. Since you are (or say you are) a California criminal defense lawyer, you surely must have represented people (gang members, for example) who actually ARE armed thugs. Do you think they bear any degree or responsibility for what's facing them, or is it all the government's/society's fault?

7. Since you evince a zealot's certainty, both about the wonderfulness of drugs and the evils of the death penalty, I want to provide you with the opportunity to show me up for the "thug," not to mention dunce, you have said I am. I therefore invite you to a face-to-face debate on the question, "Resolved: The Death Penalty Should Be Abolished."

Since, as you have let us know, you're a lot brighter than I am, in addition to smelling better, you should be able to make quick work of me. My only conditions are (1) that it be held in a place and at a time of mutual convenience, and (2) that it be videotaped, so that a link to it can be posted right here (with Doug's permission) and all will be able to see for themselves how morally superior you are.

FYI, I will be in California in early March for the National Student Convention of the Federalist Society, being held at my alma mater, Stanford (I managed to get in despite my stench). So perhaps that will suit your fancy.

Stanford has a beautiful campus, so I'm sure you'll be able to enjoy yourself after finishing me off.

Do you accept?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 17, 2011 8:40:03 PM

B.O. -- I use B.O. just as a shorthand; aren't those your initials? You use CCDC for me. What's the difference? I don't know or care whether you smell. (By contrast, I do know that your drug war is fetid.) My intention was simply to use a shorthand, not to make a juvenile insult. I assume you didn't select your own initials. If your name was John Ross, I'd refer to you on this blog as J.R.

I have represented gang members. I don't blame their conduct on society. I believe in personal responsibility. However, I probably had a better shot at achieving success than some of my gang-affiliated clients. I grew up in a yuppy neighborhood, raised by attentive parents, who paid my way through law school. A number of my gang-affiliated clients grew up in the "hood," were abandoned by their parents, and endured numerous other disadvantages growing up. Nevertheless, their difficult upbringings do not give them a license to kill or maim or steal in my book.

I love the Stanford campus, and rarely turn down an invitation to go there. However, as I've said before, I have my reasons for remaining anonymous on this blog. So, for now, you'll have to content yourself with an exchange of ideas. I understand how disappointing for you that must be, given your fidelity to the repugnant principles that perpetuate the drug war and the death penalty.

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | Dec 17, 2011 9:26:05 PM


Sometimes you go off the deep end, and sometimes I can have a more-or-less normal exchange with you. Tonight seems to be more the latter, so let me try.

First, "B.O." has a particular, and particularly unpleasant and juvenile, connotation, which is why almost everyone here, including those with your point of view, refers to me as "Bill."

Second, since you have been representing capital defendants apparently for some time, you must be a known commodity in the legal world. Your name undoubtedly appears on numerous publicly available filings, and perhaps from time to time in the newspaper. It's thus a mystery, to me at least, why you are reluctant to identify yourself. Many practicing defense counsel who comment here are quite open with their names, e.g., Mark Pickrell, Bruce Cunningham, Michael R. Levine. I have had productive exchanges with all of them.

My parents taught me that you take responsibility for what you say by signing it, and I have never spoken or written publicly without doing so. Anonymity, particularly on the Internet, is the breeding ground of a lot of bad behavior. I would therefore ask that you reconsider.

For example: I very seriously doubt that, before a live law school audience -- as opposed to anonymously over the Internet -- you would say that either the President or I are "armed thugs." That is hardly the worst that's been said of me (or other pro-DP people on this blog), but it's the kind of thing that punctures one's credibility. I am a former federal prosecutor, White House aide (Bush 41) and mainstream political conservative. Right now I teach law at Georgetown -- not exactly the kind of place that hires "armed thugs."

As for the "repugnant principles that perpetuate the drug war and the death penalty," you might want to bear in mind that these principles are very widely shared. The country is roughly evenly split on marijuana, but is overwhelmingly supportive of the death penalty and continuing the illegal status of meth, LSD, heroin, Ecstasy and other extremely dangerous drugs.

A pluralistic society requires respect for the good faith but differing opinions of others. This is particularly true from someone speaking from so outmanned a postion as the ones you hold. There is nothing worthwhile to be gained, not for you and not for the positions you espouse, by just cutting loose with a rhetorical blast, or by speaking down to other commenters.

My debate invitation remains open.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 17, 2011 10:23:58 PM

Mainstream political conservatives and mainstream political liberals are trashing this country. The National Defense Authorization Act (HR 1540), opposed by only 13 Senators (6 Repubs., 6 Dems., and Bernie Sanders), is a classic example. Conferring upon the executive unilateral authority to order American citizens detained indefinitely without counsel and without due process is about as scary/totalitarian as it gets. (On this front, only Congress' abdication is more disturbing than Obama's power grab.)

Mainstreamers support big, intrusive government, e.g., the drug war and HR 1540.

We need to try something different. The mainstreamers have failed.

Vote Libertarian!

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | Dec 17, 2011 11:03:20 PM


Are you really for legalizing meth, heroin, LSD and Ecstasy? A few years ago, when I debated Ethan Nadelmann on legalization at Cornell Law School, he took a pass on that one. What is your view?

P.S. I agree in part that conventional politics has gotten the country into trouble, but not because of anyone's position on drug legalization, which does not even make the radar screen in terms of voting issues. The main problem we have by far is a an utterly undisciplined, Sugar Daddy government that borrows and spends without limit, thereby passing on to our children a debt load that is all but certain to mean their standard of living will be lower than the one we have enjoyed.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 18, 2011 5:08:34 PM

1) Government should not be in the business of telling adults what they can and cannot put in their bodies. If I want to sit in my backyard and shoot speedballs into my veins, why should that concern the government? Prosecute me if I pose a danger to others by driving under the influence of intoxicants. But, leave me alone if I pose no risk to anyone (other than myself) by consuming an intoxicant. Government tries to do way too much in our society. The drug war is a classic example. In his essay, On Liberty, John Stuart Mill describes the limited role a government should have in a rational society. That role does not include imprisoning adults for voluntarily ingesting substances into their bodies under circumstances that do not harm others.

2) When Democrats are in power, they are big-government spenders. When Republicans are in power, they are big-government spenders. Bush gave us the deficit-financed Iraq War, Medicare Part D, and the Dept. of Homeland Security (the largest bureaucracy in history). Democrats are primarily responsible for entitlement programs, and, when they are in power, they are just about as bad as Republicans when it comes to squandering money in the name of imperialism. Republicans are not the answer to our spending woes. They are part and parcel of the problem. --- Again - Vote Libertarian -

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | Dec 19, 2011 4:28:55 PM


Your position is principled, but so is pacifism. Both have appeal to the idealistic, and neither is sustainable or, in my opinion, even humane, once its actual results are known.

If you actually ever met a heroin or meth addict who life was ruined, and eventually taken, by a drug whose consumption they thought they could control, you would, I believe, think differently.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 19, 2011 5:01:19 PM

Great posting having great features! Keep posting.Hope I will come back soon to this site.

Posted by: Dallas Contract Attorney | Aug 25, 2012 1:57:55 AM

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