Marco Antonio Delgado, Texas businessman, accused of trying to launder $600 million in Mexican drug money

Marco Antonio Delgado is escorted out of the El Paso County Jail, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012
AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca
Marco Antonio Delgado is escorted out of the El Paso County Jail, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012
AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca

(CBS/AP) EL PASO, Texas - Marco Antonio Delgado, a prominent El Paso businessman and trustee at Carnegie Mellon University, was indicted in federal court Thursday for allegedly trying to launder $600 million for a Mexican drug cartel.

Delgado pleaded not guilty Thursday in El Paso to federal charges that accuse him of conspiring to launder drug profits from July 2007 through December 2008 for a cartel based in Guadalajara, Mexico.

If convicted, the married father faces up to 20 years in prison.

A recently unsealed indictment doesn't provide details on how Delgado planned to carry out the scheme, though details could be revealed during a bond hearing Wednesday, when prosecutors try to convince a judge to keep Delgado in jail.

His wife and son declined comment after Thursday's hearing, as did his attorneys. Delgado was arrested last week.

Records show that Delgado was an active philanthropist in the El Paso area, donating to the Symphony Orchestra, and was a member of the boards of educational charities.

Delgado also gave Carnegie Mellon, his alma mater, $250,000 to establish a fellowship in 2003. He later became a trustee of the prestigious university in Pittsburgh.

Delgado received a master's degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon's Heinz College in 1990. He gave the school the $250,000 to establish the Marco Delgado Fellowship for the Advancement of Hispanics in Public Policy and Management in 2003. In a news release at the time, he credited the school's "outstanding faculty, strong links to the private sector and overall dedication to producing problem-solvers."

University spokesman Ken Walters declined comment on whether the endowment funding could be linked to drug money.

"Right now we have no knowledge of the matter and are reserving comment until the authorities investigate," Walters said.

Robert Strauss, a professor at Heinz College, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he was shocked to learn of Delgado's indictment.

"I've known Marco Delgado for some considerable number of years," Strauss said. He added that Delgado had never been one of his students, but that he "always was interested in our Hispanic students, and he has been generous."