Former Sinaloa drug cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s net worth has been the stuff of legend for years. While the exact amount has not been confirmed, in 2009, Forbes reportedly put his net worth at over a billion dollars. It appears Senator Ted Cruz has been paying attention to the reports. He recently introduced the “El Chapo Act,” which would seize the assets of Chapo, which Cruz estimates at $14 billion, to pay for the Trump’s wall.
Senator Cruz appeared on morning show “Fox & Friends” to explain the “El Chapo Act” to the hosts.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 26, 2017
During the short segment, Senator Cruz explained that the best way to pay for the wall was by seizing El Chapo’s fortune.
“The estimates are that his criminal fortune is roughly worth about $14 billion dollars. Now, coincidentally, the estimates for the cost to build the wall range from $14 to $20 billion dollars. And so my legislation provides that if those assets are forfeited, those assets from El Chapo, will go directly to building a wall and securing the border.”
The hosts called Cruz’s act “genius” because it would “indirectly” force Mexico to pay for the wall. Cause you know, drug dealers are inherently Mexico.
While it is a convenient figure, where Senator Cruz got the $14 billion dollar figure remains a source of contention.
— Dolia Estevez (@DoliaEstevez) January 27, 2017
As Dolia Estevez reported for Forbes back in January, the Department of Justice wanted to seize $14 billion from El Chapo, a figure for which they could provide no hard evidence for at the time. Former Drug Enforcement Administration CEO David Gaddis, as Forbes reported, said that number was “a cumulative figure” that was “based on his drug trafficking enterprise.” However, other experts interviewed for the article, said that while El Chapo was likely still a billionaire, $14 billion was “too high” of an estimate.
Senator Cruz also addressed concerns about El Chapo’s net worth during his brief segment.
Though he didn’t provide any data to back up his figures, Senator Cruz assured the viewers that El Chapo’s assets were there. When asked, “how can you secure his assets? I mean, does [El Chapo] have this in a bank account – $14 billion dollars?” Cruz responded, saying:
Well, [the assets] are scattered worldwide. But the government right now has extradited El Chapo from Mexico – is proceeding with a criminal prosecution. The first step is to convict him. Once he is convicted, the government is seeking the forfeiture of $14 billion dollars, and the government will go and prove where the assets are.
Senator Cruz then went on to explain to the hosts of “Fox & Friends” where money seized from cartel leaders would normally go.
FOX AND FRIENDS / FOX NEWS CHANNEL
Senator Cruz explained that his Act would ensure that future funds seized from cartels would go to border security, saying:
“Ordinarily that money goes to the treasury for certain specified uses – border security is not among those uses. So my legislation is very simple. It says that El Chapo’s assets, and for that matter, any other drug cartel whose assets are forfeited – there money would go to building the wall and keeping the border secure for the country.”
After the announcement of his Act, Twitter users took sides. Those who supported it couldn’t get enough of the sweet irony of having Mexican cartel leaders pay for border security.
— Don Westen (@DonOnTheAir) April 26, 2017
The sentiment on the pro-Cruz side saw the “El Chapo Act” as a way to hit the cartels where it hurt while not taking any cash out of the taxpayer’s pockets.
While using the cartel leader’s funds to build a wall provides a nice twist of irony, many people were quick to point out that the money could be better spent.
How about using El Chapo's ill gotten gains to fund addiction recovery programs that were cut from the budget, instead of the stupid wall?!?
— SC (@shailchotai) April 26, 2017
Aside from allocating funds for underfunded programs in the U.S., many were skeptical the government could even find the funds it claims El Chapo has.
So what do you think about the “El Chapo Act”?