Ted Cruz wants “El Chapo” to pay for the border wall.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, one of the world’s most notorious drug lords over the last several decades, was convicted of all 10 federal criminal counts against him earlier this week. Prosecutors demand that Guzman’s sentencing should reflect his crimes, with them seeking life without the option of parole. According to USA Today, they are also seeking to seize billions of dollars in assets connected to the drug lord. And Texas Senator Ted Cruz wants that money to be used to fund the border wall.
After “El Chapo” was convicted on counts including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds, international distribution of cocaine and heroin, and the use of firearms, as reported by CNN, Cruz tweeted that the money being sought by prosecutors should go toward funding the border wall.
“U.S. prosecutors are seeking $14 billion in drug profits & other assets from El Chapo which should go towards funding our wall to #SecureTheBorder,” Cruz tweeted.
As noted in the report, this demand is nothing new. It is an acknowledgment of the “EL CHAPO ACT” — or “Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act,” which was reintroduced earlier this year after first being floated back in 2017.
“The bill would reserve any amounts forfeited to the U.S. Government as a result of the criminal prosecution of ‘El Chapo’… and other drug lords for border security assets and the completion of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border,” read a part of the press release from Ted Cruz while reintroducing the bill back in January.
— The Hill (@thehill) February 13, 2019
The funding over Donald Trump’s border wall has been a big bone of contention over the last few months. The longest shutdown in U.S. government history could not bring about an agreement between the president and Democrats, and with another shutdown looming, Republicans are looking for new ways to fund the wall on the southern border.
But experts argue there is a big problem with the EL CHAPO Act. Most of the drug lord’s assets are in Mexico, meaning U.S. authorities can’t bankroll the wall simply by passing the bill. It is not at all certain assets amounting to $14 billion will be accessible for the U.S. government to use.
“The lion’s share of any of his assets seized, rightfully — by law and agreement — belong to Mexico. They are unlikely to find much — certainly not $14 billion. Mexico will never agree,” Bruce M. Bagley, a University of Miami professor and an expert on drug operations in the Americas, told Forbes when the act was first introduced in 2017.