By MICHELLE MARCHANTE
El Chapo may be footing the bill for the border wall President Donald Trump wants to build if Congress approves the bill U.S. Texas Senator Ted Cruz created.
Tuesday, April 25, Cruz introduced in the Senate the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order, otherwise known as the EL CHAPO Act, which would allow the U.S. government to use any money that was forfeited to the government because of El Chapo’s criminal prosecution to finance “border security assets and the completion of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.”
El Chapo, formerly known as Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera, is facing criminal prosecution for being the former leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, one of the largest drug trafficking rings in the world, and was extradited to the U.S. after escaping twice from Mexican prisons.
According to CNN, he faces federal charges for operation of a continuous criminal enterprise, conspiring murder, firearm violations and money laundering.
The U.S. government is seeking more than $14 billion in drug proceeds and illicit profits from El Chapo and according to Cruz, those $14 billion would “go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border.”
“By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and his ilk, we can offset the wall’s cost and make meaningful progress toward achieving President Trump’s stated border security objectives,” Cruz said in a statement.
The proposed bill would also allow the U.S. government to use the forfeited funds of other drug lords for border security as well.
But, even though El Chapo is being held in isolation, he is still “presumed innocent” El Chapo’s lawyers, Michael Schneider and Michelle Gelernt, said to NY Daily News and cannot have his funds be used until the court rules on his case.
“Additionally, under the Constitution, the government has to prove that someone is guilty of a crime before it can take his property,” they said to the NY Daily News.
Earlier this week Trump took away his demand for funding the wall to ensure the passing of a bipartisan deal days before a potential government shutdown, but has plans to bring the issue up again later in the year.
Using forfeited money from drug lords like El Chapo may be the best way to start building the wall, according to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
“Senator Cruz estimates one drug lord alone may be worth $14 billion in confiscated funds. That would be a good start toward paying for wall,” Gingrich tweeted.
Ted Cruz is exactly right to focus on confiscating Mexican drug money to pay for the wall. What a grand and fitting irony.”
To read the proposed bill, click here.