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Ted Cruz Wants Recently Convicted Mexican Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ to Fund Border Wall

3 minute read

While the country waits to see whether President Trump will accept the new border security plan negotiated by Congress, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has come up with an unlikely solution of his own to pay for the President’s much-touted wall: make recently convicted Mexican drug lord El Chapo pay for it.

On Tuesday, the Republican lawmaker pushed a bill that looks to use seized assets of the notorious drug lord to fund the controversial barrier. Cruz first introduced the bill in 2017. The Texas senator’s tweet came the day after he appeared with Trump at a rally in El Paso, in which the president repeated false claims that the border wall in the city has led to a decrease in crime.

“America’s justice system prevailed today in convicting Joaquín Guzmán Loera, aka El Chapo, on all 10 counts,” Cruz tweeted. “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’ bill, Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order, or the “El Chapo Act,” would reserve the right for the country to use any amount of the assets seized in the criminal prosecution of El Chapo — and any other convicted drug lords — to fund border security and the completion of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In 2017, the U.S. Justice Department said it was seeking more than $14 billion in drug proceeds and illicit profits from El Chapo, which is more than double the $5.7 billion president Trump has been demanding to fund the U.S.-Mexican border wall.

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was convicted on all charges related to drug trafficking in a Brooklyn Federal Court on Tuesday. He is expected to be sentenced to life in prison on June 25.

El Chapo headed the notorious Sinaloa cartel. After escaping from two Mexican prisons, he was extradited to the U.S. in 2017 to face trial for drug trafficking related crimes.

While the infamous Mexican drug lord made his fortune by smuggling drugs, he allegedly did so by creatively smuggling them at multiple legal points of entry using a wide range of transportation modes — including submarines, planes, tractor trailers and trains.

According to prosecutors, El Chapo smuggled hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cocaine across the U.S. Mexican border by hiding drugs in jalapeño pepper cans.

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Write to Gina Martinez at gina.martinez@time.com