Congressman Pushes Ingenious Way to Quickly Get $14 Million for Border Wall at No Cost to Taxpayers

Congressman Pushes Ingenious Way to Quickly Get $14 Million for Border Wall at No Cost to Taxpayers
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) with fellow Republican members of the House, outside the White House West Wing in Washington, DC on March 26, 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Congressmen are pushing an innovative way to fund the U.S. border wall—at no cost to taxpayers.

U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) wrote an opinion piece for Fox News about the EL CHAPO Act, which would allow the use of wealth from incarcerated drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera to build the border wall.

El Chapo’s drug empire amassed around $14 billion through its illicit activities, according to Buchanan. His wealth was built by flooding the United States and the world with drugs through a sophisticated and highly organized system of associates, bribes, and killing. He has also been listed on Forbes’ Billionaires list.

Buchanan said in the Fox piece that the bill would allow the government to use El Chapo’s assets to fund a secure southern border.

“EL CHAPO” in the EL CHAPO Act is actually an acronym for “Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order,” according to the bill.

El Chapo was found guilty of all 10 counts brought against him in February, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds, international distribution of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and other drugs, and use of firearms. He is set to be sentenced in July.

The bill was first introduced by Senator Ted Cruz in April 2017. He reintroduced it in January of this year, CNN reported.

“Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way to secure our southern border, and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals. 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,” Cruz said via a press release, upon reintroducing the bill.

The bill specifically calls for forfeited assets of El Chapo, and any other member of a drug cartel, to be used for security along the southern border, including building a border wall.

El Chapo’s trial took 11 weeks before he was convicted earlier this year, The New York Times reported. He is expected to be sentenced to life in prison.

The trial revealed much about El Chapo’s crimes, including details of his escapes from Mexican prisons, Business Insider reported. In one case, El Chapo purportedly escaped by hiding in a laundry cart that was taken outside prison grounds, according to testimony from another captured and extradited cartel member, Damaso Lopez Nuñez. From the laundry cart he hopped into the trunk of an automobile.

In another escape, he went through a tunnel dug underground that connected with the floor of the shower in his cell. It took months for El Chapo’s associates to dig the mile long tunnel.

After he was captured again, in 2016, he planned another escape. Before he could carry it out, he was transferred to a different prison, and then was extradited to the Unites States, Lopez Nuñez said, via Business Insider.

El Chapo is believed to be the former leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel. After El Chapo’s extradition, a struggle for power among factions in the cartel emerged.

Lopez Nuñez is a former government worker-turned-cartel member. He was captured by Mexican authorities, and then extradited to the United States last year. Lopez Nuñez used to be an ally of El Chapo, but has cooperated with U.S. authorities in hopes of lessening his life sentence.

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