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El Paso attorney found guilty of conspiring to launder $600M
By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- A jury found El Paso attorney Marco Antonio Delgado guilty of conspiring to launder more than half a billion dollars for a Mexican drug cartel, and attorneys said Delgado's days inside the federal courthouse aren't over.
Delgado is a well-known attorney and former Carnegie Mellon University trustee. He's a man who's achieved a lot in his life. But now he's heading to prison, where he could spend up to 20 years behind bars.
"He was charged with one count of money laundering and they found him guilty," said defense attorney Richard Esper.
Monday, a jury found him guilty of developing a scheme with a group of people in Mexico. In that group was Mexico former president's ex-wife Lilian De La Concha. Jurors said together, they conspired to launder $600 million.
Defense attorneys call it absurd.
"The ex-wife of the president of Mexico is involved with drug deals? How believable is that?" Esper asked the jury. "There's no mention these are proceeds of illegal activity."
During Delgado's trial, he took the stand and said the money being transported from Chicago and Georgia to Mexico was inheritance funds. Jurors didn't buy it.
"Inheritance money in fives, tens and twenties shrink-wrapped in bundles? It's not common sense, it's nonsense," said prosecuting attorney Debra Kanof.
Prosecutors also pointed out Delgado's numerous lies. For example -- on his 2008 income tax return he filed with the Internal Revenue Service, Delgado said his total income for the year was $52,000. He later admitted the tax return was about $200,000 short.
Prosecutors said he also lied about where he was living, and he claimed he had cancer when he never did.
Prosecutors declined to comment on the verdict, stating legal reasons.
"Since there's another case pending on him, it's set for Nov. 18. I do think the judge is going to extend the time," said Kanof.
Delgado's Nov. 18 appearance is on charges of wire fraud, money laundering and engaging in monetary transactions.
Delgado will also be back in federal court on Jan. 24 at 10:30 a.m. for sentencing in connection with Monday's guilty verdict.