CMU ex-trustee ruled competent to face trial

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Former Carnegie Mellon University trustee Marco Delgado, accused of laundering money for Mexican drug lords and pilfering $32 million from a Mexican utility, is competent to stand trial this fall, a Texas judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge David Briones, presiding in El Paso, declared him competent Thursday after reviewing a sealed mental evaluation report.

Judge Briones ordered Mr. Delgado to go to trial in October on the money-laundering charges and in November on the accusations regarding the utility. He had been set for trial in May, but the case was delayed while his lawyers sought the psychiatric exam.

Mr. Delgado has until the middle of September to accept a plea deal offered by the U.S. attorney's office.

Mr. Delgado, a wealthy energy attorney, is accused in two indictments following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Texas.

In the first, agents said he conspired to launder $1 million for the Milenio Mexican drug cartel with the expectation that he would launder up to $600 million in the future. In the second, he is accused of stealing millions from a Mexican electrical utility by diverting the money into his own accounts in Pennsylvania, Texas and New Mexico.

Mr. Delgado, a native of Mexico, earned a degree from CMU's Heinz School of Public Policy and Management in 1990 and gave the school a $250,000 gift in 2003 to establish a fellowship for Hispanic students. He had been on the board of trustees at CMU from 2006 until last year.

The drug investigation began in 2007 when state troopers stopped a car driven by Victor Pimentel, a friend of Mr. Delgado's, outside Atlanta and found $1 million in cash.

Mr. Pimentel said Mr. Delgado was a fellow conspirator and agreed to set up a controlled delivery for Sept. 7, 2007. Mr. Delgado was arrested and also agreed to cooperate.

The second case involving the utility started in 2009, when Mr. Delgado helped FGG Enterprises of Carson City, Nev., secure a $121 million contract with the utility to provide equipment and services for a power plant project in Agua Prieta on the Mexico-U.S. border in the state of Sonora.

The payments from the utility to FGG were supposed to go to an FGG account in El Paso, but Mr. Delgado directed the utility's bank to send the funds to his personal account in the Turks and Caicos islands, according to a grand jury. He then diverted $32 million to accounts he controlled in three states and used it to buy his house, renovate it and pay for fancy furnishings, according to the indictment.

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Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com or 412-231-0132.


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