Legislation that would reserve any amounts of illicit income forfeited to the US government as a result of the criminal prosecution of “El Chapo” (formally named Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Lorea), and other drug lords for border security assets and the completion of the wall along the US-Mexico border has been introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Cruz said of his Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act that, “The US government is currently seeking the criminal forfeiture of more than $14 billion in drug proceeds and illicit profits from El Chapo, the former leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel who was recently extradited to the US to face criminal prosecution for numerous alleged drug-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder and money laundering."
Cruz explained, “14 billion dollars will 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. Ensuring the safety and security of Texans is one of my top priorities. We must also be mindful of the impact on the federal budget. 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.”
The bill states: “Not withstanding any other provision of law, any funds that are criminally forfeited to the United States government as the result of a felony conviction in a Federal District Court of a member of a drug cartel — an individual engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise involving, knowingly and intentionally distributing a controlled substance, intending and knowing that such substance would be unlawfully imported into the United States from a place outside of the United States — shall be reserved for security measures along- the border between the United States and Mexico, including the completion of a wall along such border, for the purpose of stemming the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States and furthering the nation’s security.”
On Friday, January 20, 2017, the Department of Justice announced that El Chapo will face charges following his extradition to the United States from Mexico. The government has alleged El Chapo was operating a continuing criminal enterprise and other drug-related crimes through his leadership of the Mexican organized crime syndicate known as the Sinaloa Cartel. The indictment alleges that between January 1989 and December 2014, El Chapo led a continuing criminal enterprise responsible for importing into the United States and distributing massive amounts of illegal narcotics and conspiring to murder persons who posed a threat to El Chapo’s narcotics enterprise.