Ted Cruz wants 'El Chapo' Guzman to pay for Trump's border wall

EL CHAPO Act introduced Monday

By DOUG CRISS , CNN
Headline Goes Here DEA via CNN

(CNN) - Forget that talk about Mexico footing the bill for President Trump's border wall. Ted Cruz has the answer -- let El Chapo pay for it.

The conservative Texas senator thinks the $14 billion in assets the US government is trying to get from the reputed drug lord -- whose real name is Joaquin Guzman -- would be a nice down payment on Trump's vision of a "big, beautiful" wall on the southern border.

"Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border," Cruz said in a statement. "Ensuring the safety and security of Texans is one of my top priorities. We must also be mindful of the impact on the federal budget. By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and his ilk, we can offset the wall's cost and make meaningful progress toward achieving President Trump's stated border security objectives."

Cruz introduced the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act -- you get it? The EL CHAPO Act! -- on Monday.

The bill would take any assets that the government would get from prosecuting El Chapo and apply the funds toward building the border wall.

Guzman is accused of running one of the world's largest drug trafficking rings (and is one heck of an escape artist). He was extradited from Mexico earlier this year and indicted on multiple charges: operation of a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiring to murder rivals, firearms violations, money laundering.

But how far will $14 billion go in building the wall? We don't know, because we really don't have a firm estimate yet of how much this wall would cost. Estimates have ranged from $12 billion to almost $22 billion.

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