Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Ahead of Kingpin’s Sentencing, Buchanan Calls for Action on El Chapo Bill

Jun 24, 2019
Press Release
Facing Life in Prison, Drug Lord to be Sentenced Tomorrow. Billions in Seized Drug Money Available to Secure the Border

WASHINGTON –  As infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera is sentenced tomorrow, Congressman Vern Buchanan today called on Congress to pass legislation he has co-sponsored to use billions in assets seized from the kingpin to help secure the southern border.

Buchanan is asking congressional leaders to schedule a vote on the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act, which would set aside money forfeited to the U.S. government from El Chapo and other convicted drug lords to be used for increased security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Tomorrow, El Chapo faces life in prison for his crimes,” Buchanan said. “Guzman’s drug empire amassed an estimated $14 billion from narcotic sales responsible for destroying the lives of countless Americans. As President Trump looks to secure the southern border, Congress should pass this commonsense measure to use seized drug money to stanch the flow of drugs and violence into our communities.”

In February, the drug lord and head of the murderous Sinaloa cartel was found guilty of all 10 federal criminal counts against him, including drug trafficking, operating a continuing criminal enterprise and weapons violations.

Guzman was once listed on Forbes’ Billionaires List and oversaw the shipment of tons of cocaine and other drugs into the U.S.

According to Forbes Magazine, the 33-page indictment against El Chapo, filed in 2016 at the U.S. Eastern District of New York, does not dissect the $14 billion. It simply says that upon conviction, the U.S. will seek forfeiture of any property or contractual rights derived from the continuing criminal enterprise, "including but not limited to at least approximately a sum of money equal to $14 billion in United States currency."

Buchanan has been a strong supporter of enforcing federal immigration laws and is the author of the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act. Buchanan’s bill prohibits gang members from entering the U.S. and allows for them to be deported if they are already here, as well as disqualifying these dangerous individuals from receiving asylum or temporary protected status.

In May, Buchanan wrote a Fox News op-ed applauding the Trump Administration’s commitment to taking down the infamous MS-13 gang.

Buchanan previously supported the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act and Kate’s Law. The two bills sought to cut federal funds for sanctuary cities and toughen penalties against anyone who re-enters the country after being deported.