Marco Antonio Delgado, a West Texas lawyer and former Carnegie Melon employee, is being held without bail under charges of conspiring to launder money for the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel in 2007 and 2008. The accusations are surprising because Delgado was also an informant for the United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement branch, during the time the alleged laundering occurred. The department first became suspicious when it learned Delgado had sent a representative to Chicago pick up $50,000 in cash to bring to El Paso, where the money later reappeared in Delgado’s personal accounts. It launched an official investigation when, during a 2007 seizure, a man reported that he, along with Delgado had agreed to transport amounts totaling near $1 million between Mexico and the United States. Delgado admitted to federal agents that this money was a trial run in a scheme to smuggle nearly $600 million. However, the cartel has been mostly dismantled since 2010.
Delgado is being held in custody despite his family’s offer to put nearly $800,000 of property up for his bail. A judge denied bail because of Delgado’s substantial international network, and the high likelihood of jail time if convicted. Ray Verlade, Delgado’s attorney, questions why the government waited nearly four years to prosecute, and plans to appeal the judge’s motion to refuse bail. Yet acquaintances worry his reputation is already tarnished.