Re: Sam Hurd's seemingly double life
According to records and interviews, the prosecution's case expands beyond Chicago and Texas. A phone number Hurd and Lujan used was found in the phone used by a California man who in July 2011 was arrested with drugs in Texas. The man told police that he owns marijuana dispensaries. A text conversation between the man and Hurd and Lujan was "consistent with narcotics trafficking," according to authorities.
Jacoby Lujan told the Tribune that his brother is an average guy who works 60 hours a week to support himself and his wife.
"All of a sudden his life comes to an end because he was set up," he said. "The picture being painted of my brother is completely the opposite of who he is. Sam called him to pick up (Hurd's) vehicle to service and boom they're saying my brother is part of this whole thing."
Since the arrest, Toby Lujan has moved out of his rented apartment in suburban Dallas with the private patio and into his wife's parents' home in Garland.
His lawyer, Andrew Garcia, is a local attorney who helped Lujan get traffic citations dismissed a few years ago, records show. Garcia said of Lujan, "He's pretty much a shut in with everything going on."
Jesse Tyrone Chavful, indicted co-conspirator No. 2
Jesse Tyrone Chavful named for his father but known as Tyrone grew up a few blocks from where most of Hurd's family resides. Authorities and his lawyer identify Chavful as Hurd's cousin.
He graduated from high school the year before Hurd was born and then moved to Austin, where he was later arrested for drugs and domestic violence. In 2009, he completed a five-year prison sentence for illegal possession of a handgun, a plea down from a drug bust in which he told authorities he was trying to pay down his mortgage.
Chavful opened a T-shirt printing shop, T-Love Express, two years ago in a beat-up strip mall with a gravel parking lot. The window to the business displays a sign that reads "GANGSTA PARKING ONLY ALL OTHERS WILL GET JACKED." Business owners in the mall recall a gregarious, friendly man who joked with their customers. He served as the "bodyguard" at the hair salon next door, staying until employees finished their shift.
Prosecutors allege Chavful, 45, met with three cooperating defendants and regularly cited Hurd, whose picture he displayed in his store. Chavful wore a shirt with Hurd on it and said he was negotiating on the former NFL player's behalf.
During one meeting, when one defendant asked Chavful if he wanted to purchase cocaine, Chavful said he'd ask his "little cousin Sam."
In another meeting, Chavful said Hurd was purchasing 1,500 kilograms of marijuana from Los Angeles to be delivered in Chicago, a defendant later told authorities. He said Chavful told him he regularly coordinated purchases for Hurd.
Chavful told authorities that in March and April of this year, Hurd visited his store and requested Chavful get him "something," referencing cocaine and marijuana. In May, Chavful said, he delivered 30 pounds of marijuana in a "blue ice chest" to Hurd at his store. He said Hurd paid $10,500 in cash.
Chavful told investigators he called a number stored in his phone for "Big Sam" three times on June 6 to assure Hurd that the drugs were coming to Chavful's store. The number is for a cell phone registered to Hurd's sister. Federal authorities confirmed the calls using phone records.
In mid-afternoon, an undercover agent delivered the drugs to Chavful's clothing store, just one mile from Hurd's childhood home. Police raided the business, and Chavful was arrested. He remains in custody.
After he was indicted, he told authorities in a July 30 interview that the drugs he allegedly tried to buy five kilograms of cocaine and an additional 200 pounds of marijuana were for Hurd, records show. Chavful's public defender in Dallas declined to make him available to speak with the Tribune.
"I'm familiar with a lot of things that go on in the street," said Earl Greenwood, whose construction company office was nearby and remembered Chavful sitting outside at night, sometimes sipping a beer. "I just didn't see none of that type of stuff in that direction as far as him being involved with drugs."
The latest allegations have not lead to new charges against Hurd but were part of an effort by prosecutors in their arrest of Hurd for violation of his bond. He and Chavful remain in federal custody.
Hurd's attorney, Michael McCrum, said allegations tying Chavul to Hurd are unfounded.
Hurd did not resist when he was arrested Aug. 9 outside the YMCA that he sometimes partnered with to put on youth football camps, officials said.
But Al Porter, a retired teacher who Hurd served as an aide to and who helped Hurd host the camps, said the most recent arrest erased any hope he had for Hurd.
"Up to this point I was a firm believer he was just involved in dealing not so much taking the drugs themselves," Porter said. "But to me, this pretty much proves to me that he is involved a lot deeper in drugs than most people think he is."