Hurd was arrested as he left a Chicago-area restaurant in December 2011 with a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cocaine after allegedly negotiating with a federal undercover agent for a weekly supply of $700,000 in cocaine and marijuana, according to court records.
Hurd, who in April pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance four days before his scheduled trial, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis in Dallas. He faced a possible life term.
“You had everything going for you, no reason to get involved in this activity,” Solis told Hurd before pronouncing the sentence. “You were involved willingly and knowingly in cocaine agreements.”
Hurd, 28, is a graduate of Northern Illinois University who played five years for the Cowboys before joining the Bears in 2011. During his 77-game NFL career he caught 53 passes, amassed 739 receiving yards and scored two touchdowns, according to the website Pro-Football-Reference.com. Hurd was released by the team after his arrest.
While non-binding federal sentencing guidelines called for a minimum sentence of 27 years in prison, Solis said this was Hurd’s first criminal offense and that there was no evidence of actual drug distribution.
“I have never in my life sold, participated in, bought or used cocaine,” the one-time pro football player told the judge yesterday. “Everything in this case is a direct result of my marijuana addiction. Everything I did I thought would lead me to more marijuana.”
The investigation started in Dallas in July 2011, according to the original complaint filed against him. Two other men were later arrested.
One, Jesse Chavful, pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute it and was sentenced to more than eight years in prison, according to court records. He has appealed that ruling.
The third man, Toby Lujan, last year pleaded guilty to a cocaine-possession charge and is awaiting sentencing.
Hurd, while on pretrial release last year, attempted to obtain cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute, according to a revised indictment filed against him in March.
The case is U.S. v. Hurd, 12-cr-00003, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).
To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Harris in federal court in Chicago at email@example.com; Tom Korosec in federal court in Dallas at firstname.lastname@example.org