Former constable candidate gets 12 years in prison for money laundering

Robert Ricardo Maldonado // File Photo

A federal judge sentenced a former Hidalgo County constable's candidate to 12 years in prison for laundering $40 million dollars in drug cash.

Robert Ricardo Maldonado appeared for sentencing before U.S. District Court Judge Randy Crane in McAllen on Wednesday morning.

The 49-year-old pleaded guilty back in May to a federal money laundering charge.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office revealed that Maldonado had been smuggling drug cash since 2001.

During the sentencing hearing, it was revealed that Maldonado smuggled drug money from Detroit, Chicago, Birmingham and other cities to the Rio Grande Valley.

Maldonado admitted to getting paid a percentage of the money he smuggled and was able to buy property and other assets.

A Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) state trooper found $1,068,930 in the trunk of Maldonado's car during a traffic stop near Victoria back in February 2012.

Maldonado was a candidate in the Democratic Party primary for Hidalgo County Precinct 1 Constable at the time.

Judge Crane sentenced Maldonado to 12 years in federal prison but is allowing the former candidate to remain free on bond until October 24th when he must report to prison.

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