By Louis Casiano
Published February 13, 2019
“America’s justice system prevailed today in convicting Joaquín Guzmán Loera, aka El Chapo, on all 10 counts,” Cruz tweeted Tuesday shortly before the Sinaloa cartel boss was convicted on drug trafficking, weapons violations and money laundering charges in a federal courtroom in Brooklyn, N.Y. “U.S. prosecutors are seeking $14 billion in drug profits & other assets from El Chapo which should go towards funding our wall to #SecureTheBorder.”
Trump has said the construction of a wall would cost around $5.7 billion.
The Texas Republican then urged his colleagues to pass the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act – or El Chapo Act – which would divert drug proceeds from cartel bosses to fund border security.
Cruz first introduced the bill in April 2017 and reintroduced it in January. The reintroduction puts pressure on lawmakers to put in place a border security spending bill.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Monday tentatively agreed to provide $1.4 billion for border barriers, including 55 miles of new fencing along the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Drug proceeds could go a long way in securing the southern border, Cruz said.
“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 of his bill 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.”
Supporters of the wall argue it will deter criminals from entering the U.S. illegally while opponents say the wall would have a minimal impact on the flow of people and drugs into the country.