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Ted Cruz pushes for El Chapo to pay for the border wall after drug lord's conviction

Published: Feb. 14, 2019 at 8:31 AM CST
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Sen. Ted Cruz has a new source of funding for President Trump's proposed border wall.

Cruz said Tuesday that he believes the billions of dollars in assets connected to convicted drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán should be used to build a border wall with Mexico.

Guzman was found guilty of 10 counts, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise. He faces a mandatory life sentence.

Federal prosecutors plan to seek a forfeiture judgment for the property Guzman gained from drug trafficking. The value of that property is believed to be as high as $14 billion.

"U.S. prosecutors are seeking $14 billion in drug profits and other assets from El Chapo which should go towards funding our wall to #SecureTheBorder," the Texas Republican wrote on Twitter. "It's time to pass my EL CHAPO Act. I urge my Senate colleagues to take swift action on this crucial legislation."

Cruz originally introduced the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act in April of 2017. It would reserve any "illegally obtained profits resulting from any criminal drug trafficking enterprise led by Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera" for border security measures, which could include a wall. This includes any funds forfeited by Guzman in this case or future cases involving his former associates.

"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.

The EL CHAPO Act was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.