Former CMU trustee accused of laundering millions in Mexican drug cartel cash

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A former Carnegie Mellon University trustee is in federal custody in Texas and faces a detention hearing Thursday in connection with charges that he helped a Mexican drug cartel launder some $600 million.

Agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security arrested Marco Delgado, 46, an El Paso lawyer, at a restaurant in that city on Friday. He is charged with conspiracy to launder money for the Milenio drug cartel, also known as Cartel de los Valencia, based in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

Mr. Delgado appeared in federal court Monday for an initial appearance hearing before a federal magistrate. The government has moved to detain him as a flight risk and a detention hearing will be held Thursday at 9:30 to address that request.

More details of the investigation are expected to emerge at that hearing.

Mr. Delgado was indicted under seal in September. Details of the charges are sparse, but the grand jury found that Mr. Delgado, a principal in the law firm Delgado and Associates with offices in Texas, Mexico and South America, conspired with others to launder money from drug dealing between July 2007 and December 2008 in Texas and elsewhere.

The amount is unspecified in court papers but is believed to be more than $600 million.

Mr. Delgado, who took a leave of absence in 2012 to join Enrique Pena Nieto's successful campaign for president of Mexico, is a 1990 graduate of the Heinz School of Management and Public Policy and endowed a fellowship for Hispanic students at the school in 2003. He was appointed to the board of trustees in 2006 and had been listed as a trustee for this year, but left this summer.

Ken Walters, CMU spokesman, said today that Mr. Delgado is no longer a member of the board of trustees and said the school will have no further comment.

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