White-Collar Crime

Texas Lawyer Indicted and Jailed re Claimed Role in Alleged Mexican Drug Money-Laundering Conspiracy

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An El Paso, Texas, lawyer was arrested Friday at a local restaurant and jailed, pending a Thursday detention hearing, on a sealed federal indictment that federal officials say charges him with a role in a claimed conspiracy to launder $600 million in Mexican drug cartel money.

Federal officials say Marco Antonio Delgado, 46, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering over $1 million, according to the El Paso Times and KTSM.

Attorney Jose Montes Jr. represents Delgado, who he said will plead not guilty. Montes declined to comment in detail about the case, the Times reports.

A law firm website describes the defendant attorney’s Delgado & Associates as a boutique offering “unparalleled legal services” in multiple areas of practice, including energy regulation and international business, and says it represents corporate, banking and governmental clients in municipal regulatory, corporate, finance and securities law matters.

The firm’s multidisciplinary practice includes not only representations throughout the United States, the website says, but an active international practice carried out in the law firm’s offices in Texas, Canada and Mexico, as well as “correspondent” offices in São Paulo, Brazil, and the Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

However, both the “Firm Members” and Significant Cases” tabs on the site pull up a boilerplate “under construction” page. The only office for the firm with an address listed on its website is in El Paso, Texas, and the only lawyer listed (along with the firm’s address, under “Contact Us”) is Marco Delgado. No biography is provided for him on the website.

Delgado is a 16-year practitioner with an unblemished attorney disciplinary record, according to KVIA. Delgado reportedly earned his law degree from Texas Tech University and has a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College.

A page on the Heinz College website lists a scholarship in the name of Marco Delgado, who earned a master’s degree in public policy management in 1990.

KFOX reports that a Heinz College biography, which it reprints, lists Delgado as not only the founder of his law firm but a leader of two El Paso-based businesses. They focus on making investments, according to his biography.

The biography, which also says Delgado “went on leave from his legal and professional obligations” at the beginning of this year “to join Enrique Peña Nieto’s campaign in his successful bid for the presidency of Mexico,” apparently has been taken down (a link to it comes up as an error page on the university’s website).

However, an earlier Carnegie Mellon News article about a $250,000 gift from Delgado to establish the Marco Delgado Fellowship for the Advancement of Hispanics in Public Policy and Management says he was then a partner in the international practice group at Delgado, Acosta, Braden & Jones.

A Carnegie Mellon press release about the gift, in June 2003, says it was the largest by a Heinz alumnus in the history of the school.

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