TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A notorious Mexican drug kingpin is set to spend the rest of his life behind bars, and a Florida congressman is suggesting his money be put toward the border wall.
A federal judge sentenced Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to life in prison on Wednesday. The 62-year-old drug lord and escape artist had previously been convicted in a massive drug conspiracy.
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) has suggested congress build the U.S.-Mexico border wall using the assets seized from El Chapo. In an op-ed published Tuesday in the Bradenton Herald, Rep. Buchanan said there is a big push in Congress to pass the EL CHAPO Act. Buchanan is one of five Florida Republicans co-sponsoring the bill.
The proposed bill would reserve money forfeited to the United States government as a result of El Chapo’s conviction for use along the border wall.
“Any illegally obtained profits resulting from any criminal drug trafficking enterprise led by (El Chapo)… shall be reserved for security measures along the border between the United States and Mexico, including the completion of a wall along such border, for the purpose of stemming the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States and furthering the Nation’s security,” the text of the bill reads.
In his op-ed, Rep. Buchanan says an estimated $14 billion has accrued from narcotic sales connected to El Chapo’s empire.
“Congress should pass this commonsense bill to divert his blood money to help stop the flow of drugs and violence into our neighborhoods and give President Trump another tool to build the wall,” Buchanan wrote.
The Associated Press reports that El Chapo’s lawyers argued descriptions of the kingpin’s lavish lifestyle were overblown and there’s no chance the U.S. government could collect the multibillion-dollar forfeiture.
You can read the full text of the proposed EL CHAPO Act on the Congress website. You can read Rep. Buchana’s full opinion piece for the Bradenton Herald here.