On Feb. 12, El Chapo was convicted on multiple offenses and will likely face life behind bars. Texas Senator Ted Cruz has suggested more than a few times that the drug kingpin's illicit fortune should pay for the border wall. El Chapo’s attorney Jeffrey Lichtman, of course, believes otherwise.
“Sen. Cruz surely knows that the government has seized none—not a penny—of Mr. Guzman's assets so getting him to pay for the wall is ludicrous,” Lichtman said on Sunday, per CNN. “There's a better chance of Mr. Cruz paying for the wall.”
Cruz responded on Twitter Sunday, saying that the Department of Justice will commence criminal forfeiture proceedings.
El Chapo’s lawyer seems confused. Nobody is asking for voluntary contributions. After El Chapo’s 10 convictions, DOJ will begin criminal forfeiture proceedings to seize every penny of El Chapo’s $14 Bn illicit fortune. My legislation would, in turn, use those $ to build the wall. https://t.co/pAh7l4pnP9— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 17, 2019
Following the drug lord’s conviction, federal prosecutors are now planning to seek a forfeiture judgment for the property El Chapo acquired from drug trafficking. The property’s value is thought to be as much as $14 billion.
After El Chapo was found guilty, Cruz resumed his appeal to use the money for border security.
“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 #SecureTheBorder,” Cruz tweeted on Feb. 12.
He continued, “It’s time to pass my EL CHAPO Act. I urge my Senate colleagues to take swift action on this crucial legislation. #SecureTheBorder.”
Cruz first introduced the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act in April 2017, which stated that any “illegally obtained profits resulting from any criminal drug trafficking enterprise led by Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera” would be allocated toward border security measures, such as the wall. This includes any funds that El Chapo gave up in this case or future cases. Cruz revived the bill last month.
"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 in a statement.