Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz proposed a bill that would seize billions of convicted Mexican drug kingpin Joquin “El Chapo” Guzman to fund part of President Trump’s proposed border wall.
Cruz tweeted that the billions in drug profits that American prosecutors are seeking from El Chapo after he was convicted in a New York court Tuesday should go toward funding the 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 Tuesday.
Cruz has proposed a bill called The Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act in January.
“Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way to secure our southern border, and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals,” Cruz said in a January news release. “By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and other murderous drug lords, we can offset the cost of securing our border and make meaningful progress toward delivering on the promises made to the American people.”
Critics fact-check Cruz plan:
University of Miami professor Bruce Bagley, who literally wrote the book on drug trafficking in the Americas, told USA Today that, one, El Chapo does not have anywhere near $14 billion and, two, the assets he does have belong to Mexico.
“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,” he said, adding that he estimates El Chapo is worth around $2 to $4 billion.
The New York Times reported that federal prosecutors believe El Chapo earned $14 billion from his cartel.
White House uses El Chapo to call for border wall:
“El Chapo’s reign of terror is over,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted Tuesday. “The threat from violent drug cartels is real — we must secure our border.”
Except Trump’s proposed border wall would do little to stop the flow of illegal drugs, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
“As the Drug Enforcement Administration explained in a 2016 report, the most common method for smuggling narcotics into the U.S. involves driving them right through legal ports of entry, camouflaged with legitimate commercial goods,” New York Magazine reported. “There is no reason to think that a border wall would meaningfully disrupt the North American narcotics trade, let alone stem the tide of opioid overdoses that is the former’s most baleful consequence.”