Hidalgo County constable candidate accused of money laundering

Robert Ricardo Maldonando // Victoria County Jail Mugshot

A candidate for Hidalgo County Pct. 1 Consable's race found himself on the other side of the law.

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) state troopers in Victoria County arrested Robert Ricardo Maldonando after finding what they say could be drug cash in his car.

The candidate was pulled over for a traffic violation along U.S. Highway 59 and Midway Road just north of Victoria around 2:45 p.m. Monday.

According to an arrest report, a DPS state trooper pulled over Maldonado for speeding and driving on the shoulder lane, which is prohibited.

The trooper reproted that Maldonado's nervous behavior and inconsistencies with his story prompted the trooper to ask consent to search Maldonado's car.

When Maldonado denied consent, the trooper called for a K-9 officer.

The K-9 officer alerted troopers to the trunk where they allegedly found 108 bundles of cash wrapped in a way that investigators say is consistent with drug trafficking.

The report didn't specify how much money but a DPS spokesman told the Rio Grande Guardian that it was more than $1 million dollars.

Maldonado is being held at the Victoria County Jail under a $1 million dollar bond for a first-degree felony money laundering charge.

Public records show that Maldonado lives off of Mile 12 North near Mercedes.

He filed as a candidate to unseat Hidalgo County Pct. 1 Constable Celestino Avila in the Democratic Party Primary.