MERCEDES — Thinking that he was intoxicated, state troopers arrested a former Hidalgo County constable candidate whose campaign faltered after he was formally charged in a money laundering scam with ties to the Gulf Cartel.
The Texas Department of Public Safety arrested Robert Ricardo Maldonado about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, when Hidalgo County deputy constables responded to the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 491 and Mile 10 North for a reckless driver in a pickup, DPS records show.
A deputy constable stopped the driver of a Ford pickup truck that was driving on the shoulder of the road.
Constables called in DPS troopers, who arrested Maldonado after he refused to take a Breathalyzer test. He was released Thursday after posting a $1,500 bond.
Maldonado, 47, had previously been arrested in February 2012, after DPS troopers found close to $1 million in the trunk of his car during a traffic stop near Victoria.
Troopers found 108 bundles of cash in the vehicle. At the time of the arrest, Maldonado was under investigation for being a drug carrier for Mexico’s Gulf Cartel. He was released after posting a $125,000 bond.
Soon after the arrest, federal agencies raided Maldonado’s estate north of Mercedes, which had several exotic animals, a small lake and a pool.
No indictment in that case was ever filed in state district court in Victoria; the only court record that exists is a writ of habeas corpus — a court summons — setting the terms of Maldonado’s release. No federal charges have been filed against him, either.
Maldonado lost his bid for Hidalgo County Precinct 1 Constable in April 2012. He ran another unsuccessful bid for the office in 2008.
Maldonado had worked as a DPS trooper, but was fired in 1994 after he was charged with aggravated assault — a case that was later dismissed.
From 2003 to 2007, Maldonado worked as a narcotics officer with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office before leaving his post. His personnel file didn’t show any disciplinary actions.
Ildefonso Ortiz covers courts, law enforcement and general assignments for The Monitor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (956) 683-4437.
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