Drug dealers may amass a ton of cash, but the odds of them putting their money in a traditional bank are very low. Authorities searching for the illicit fortune of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the notorious former Sinaloa Cartel leader, have so far been able to find exactly zero dollars, NBC News reports.
In an interview with Televisa, Mexican Attorney General Raul Cervantes said, “U.S. authorities have not found not even one dollar of El Chapo’s assets.”
Cervantes also admitted that Mexican authorities have found only “few assets” of El Chapo because he did not use the “financial system.” In order to locate El Chapo’s funds, which have been hidden by organized crime, Cervantes indicated it would take the combined efforts of authorities from Mexico, the United States, and Colombia.
U.S. authorities believe El Chapo’s cumulative net worth to be in the billions.
As mitú reported, authorities, as well as politicians, have their eyes on El Chapo’s alleged fortune. Texas Senator Ted Cruz recently suggested that President Trump’s proposed border wall could be paid for by the former cartel leader’s supposed fortune, which he estimates to be nearly $14 billion. However, Forbes reported that there are experts that believe that $14 billion is an unrealistic number. Money seized from drug fortunes is usually earmarked for the U.S. Treasury.
Although his money appears to be safe, El Chapo’s organization was dealt a heavy blow. Recently, Mexican authorities captured El Chapo’s “right hand man,” Sinaloa cartel leader Damaso Lopez, CBS reports.
Lopez, who was one of the men involved in Guzman’s escape from prison in 2001, is being eyed for extradition to the U.S., Televisa reports. In 2011, Lopez was charged with cocaine and money laundering-related charges by a grand jury in Alexandria, Virgina. The charges could put Lopez in prison for life if he is extradited.
Since Guzman’s recent arrest, 51-year-old Damaso Lopez has struggled against El Chapo’s sons for control of the Sinaloa Cartel’s territories, Reuters reports.
According to CBS News, former chief from the U.S. drug Enforcement Agency Mike Vigil said, “This [arrest] is a big deal because it may stave off an internal war within the Sinaloa cartel. This could have easily gone into a full-scale war, which could have translated into massive casualties and violence in Mexico.” Others, however, are skeptical the violence will dissipate anytime soon.
Business Insider reports that while the Sinaloa has been locked in an vicious internal struggle, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which formed in 2010 as an offshoot of the Sinaloa cartel, is the currently the fastest growing cartel in Mexico.