A former Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputy and Precinct 1 constable candidate laundered $40 million worth of drug money, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Weslaco resident Robert Ricardo Maldonado, 49, was sentenced to 12 years in prison Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in May.

Maldonado worked as a cash runner for drug traffickers from 2001 until November 2013 — after he was arrested with $1 million in cash in his car’s trunk in Victoria County in early 2012, when he was running for Precinct 1 constable — until he was arrested by federal agents, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Prosecutors said he transported drug money from Detroit, Chicago, Birmingham, Ala. and elsewhere back to the Rio Grande Valley. He was given a cut of the money on each trip he made, which went toward buying properties and assets.

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