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Attorney accused of trying to launder $600 million for drug cartel

From Joe Sutton, CNN
updated 6:33 AM EST, Fri November 9, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Delgado was arrested at a Texas restaurant
  • He faces 20 years in prison if he is convicted
  • He had set up a scholarship for Latino students

(CNN) -- A prominent Texas attorney and former university trustee faces charges of laundering more than $600 million for a Mexican drug cartel.

Marco Antonio Delgado, 46, was in court Thursday to face his charges, according to federal authorities.

The attorney, who once was a trustee at the Carnegie Mellon University, was arrested on November 2 at a restaurant in El Paso.

"Delgado is linked to a drug cartel based in Guadalajara, Mexico, and accused of conspiring to launder more than $600 million," investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations said in a statement.

Delgado faces a maximum 20 year prison sentence if convicted, federal authorities said.

Delgado had been active in the local community as he was a member of the board at the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and once donated more than $20,000 to the organization.

Ruth Jacobson, executive director of the symphony, told CNN affiliate KFOX that she was "surprised and saddened" by the arrest.

Delgado also donated to Carnegie Mellon University setting up the "Marco Delgado Fellowship for the Advancement of Hispanics in Public Policy and Management ," according to the website of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based university.

The scholarship that started in 2003 awards about $5,000 to "students who are expected to make a significant contribution to the Latino community," the website said.

His lawyer said Delgado was innocent.

"You know, he is a brother (fellow) attorney and I'm honored to represent him and we'll go from there," lawyer Jose Montes told KFOX.

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