Saul Goodman, is that you?
Apparently, you don't have to be a fictional lawyer on the AMC series Breaking Bad in order to launder drug money for the Mexican cartels.
Homeland Security has arrested Marco Antonio Delgado, a 46-year-old lawyer from El Paso, TX, for allegedly laundering more than $600 million for the Milenio drug cartel or Cártel de los Valencia in an 18-month period between July 2007 and December 2008 as reported by Lorena Figueroa for the El Paso Times. Delgado's defense attorney, José Montes Jr.,"confirmed that his client worked at Delgado & Associates, P.C.":
According to its website, the law firm has offices in Texas; Calgary, Canada; Distrito Federal, México; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos islands. It describes itself as a "boutique law firm uniquely designed and committed to provide its clients with unparalleled legal services in the areas of energy regulation (power and gas), alternative energy, international business, international energy, and international transaction planning."
Delgado apparently was the founder of the law firm but "took a leave of absence at the beginning of 2012 to join Enrique Pena Nieto's successful campaign for president of Mexico and is assisting as a member of Nieto's transition team" as reported by Debrah Erdley for the Tribune-Review.
It's funny because organized crime cannot operate without crooked lawyers but it's a verboten topic in polite society and political circles.
Apparently, the lawyer also has a philanthropic side, and in 1990 he founded the Marco Delgado Fellowship for the Advancement of Hispanics in Public Policy and Management at H. John Heinz III College at Carnegie Mellon Univsersity where he once served as a trustee as reported by KTSM.
Delgado's supposed association with Mexico's President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto from the historically corrupt Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) may raise an eyebrow within the political class.
The PRI controlled Mexican politics for decades until the election six years ago of President Felipe Calderon from Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) who launched a military campaign against the drug cartels, and last July voters swept Pena Nieto and the PRI back into power in an election which some saw as a capitulation to the narcos.
Last August Spanish police busted four suspected Sinaloa traffickers including Rafael Humberto Celaya Valenzuela who apparently maintained a Facebook page in his name which "appears to show a photograph of him alongside Mexico's President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto."
11/09/12 Update: A spokesman for Nieto insists that Delgado has no association with the President-elect as reported by Juan Carlos Llorca for The Huffington Post: "Clearly this person is not part of the team. We don't know him."