Senator Ted Cruz Wants Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ to Pay for Border Wall

Senator Ted Cruz has again floated an idea to help fund a wall at the southern border.

In a social media post on Feb. 12, Cruz proposed using the seized assets of notorious drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera to build the wall that has been demanded by the White House.

Cruz made the post after El Chapo’s conviction was announced earlier on Feb. 12, saying “America’s justice system prevailed today in convicting Joaquín Guzmán Loera, aka El Chapo, on all 10 counts. U.S. prosecutors are seeking $14 billion in drug profits & other assets from El Chapo which should go towards funding our wall to .”

El Chapo, 61, who headed the Sinaloa cartel, was found guilty of all 10 counts of a superseding indictment, including narcotics trafficking, using a firearm in furtherance of his drug crimes, and participating in a money laundering conspiracy. He faces up to life in prison and is due to be sentenced on June 25.

As part of the sentencing, prosecutors are seeking $14 billion in drug proceeds and illicit profits from El Chapo. This amount is more than double the $5.7 billion that Republicans have been requesting for the border wall.

Cruz previously proposed the same idea in his Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act back in January. He said the aim of the bill (pdf) was to “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.”

“Congress has a clear mandate from the American people: secure the border and build the wall,” Cruz said in a press release on Jan. 3.

“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.”

In a recent post, Cruz urged other Senators to consider his bill to help secure the border.

“It’s time to pass my EL CHAPO Act. I urge my Senate colleagues to take swift action on this crucial legislation,” he wrote.

Trump ‘Extremely Unhappy’ Over Tentative Deal

Cruz’s suggestion came a day after Congress reached a tentative deal on the border wall on Feb. 11, in order to prevent a government shutdown. Republicans tentatively agreed to less money for the border wall, settling for a figure of nearly $1.4 billion, according to congressional aides. The measure is for funding through the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.

On Feb. 12, President Donald Trump told reporters at a cabinet meeting that he was “extremely unhappy” with the deal reached by congressional negotiators.

“I’m extremely unhappy with what the Democrats have given us. It’s sad,” Trump said. “They’re doing the country no favors. They’re hurting our country very badly. But we certainly don’t want to see a shutdown.”

“Am I happy at first glance? I just got to see it. The answer is no,” he continued.

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A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol vehicle passes along a section of border levee wall in Hidalgo, Texas, on Aug. 11, 2017. (Eric Gay, AP Photo/File)

However, Trump said that aside from the lack of funding for a border wall, he is thrilled by the other progress being made in the negotiations.

“I’m thrilled because we’re supplementing things and moving things around and we’re doing things that are fantastic, taking from far less important areas and the bottom line is we’re building a lot of wall,” he said. “You think it’s easy? We’re building it in the face of tremendous obstruction and tremendous opposition from a small group of people.”

Meanwhile, Trump added that he didn’t want to see another shutdown.

“I wouldn’t want to see a shutdown. If you did have it, it’s the Democrats fault,” he said.

The tentative agreement would allow 55 miles of new fencing to be built. This is less than the 215 miles Trump demanded in December. If passed, it would also be constructed using the existing design of metal slats instead of a concrete wall and be built in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.