According to Robert Pitman, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, federal prosecutors alleged to the jury that Delgado laundered money for the Milenio drug trafficking organization. They presented evidence linking Delgado to $1 million in drug money traveling from Atlanta to Mexico via El Paso, and they alleged that $50,000 seized from Delgado’s Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLTA) was also connected to drug money, Pitman says.
Delgado had pleaded not guilty.
Delgado’s conviction is a significant one, says Pitman. “For a lot of reasons — not the least of which this was a well-regarded lawyer, active in the community and was considered a philanthropist — it was really discouraging,” Pitman says.
“Unfortunately, he was giving away money that there was reason to believe” was connected to illegal funds, says Pitman, who notes that Delgado still faces trial on additional wire fraud and money laundering charges. Delgado has not yet been sentenced.
“In the process, he became a culpable participant in the drug cartel . . . whose money he was laundering,” Pitman alleges.
Ray Velarde, an El Paso attorney who defended Delgado at trial, did not immediately return a call for comment. Delgado is currently in federal custody.
--- John Council