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Why It Will Be Hard For The U.S. To Seize All Of El Chapo's Assets

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán at an airport in Long Island, New York, after he was extradited to the U.S. in 2017.
Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán at an airport in Long Island, New York, after he was extradited to the U.S. in 2017.

From Texas Standard:

After sentencing Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán to life in prison plus 30 years, the United States ordered a forfeiture of $12.6 billion worth of his assets. But Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO, says the money should be put to use in Mexico, where many of his crimes were committed. 

Melissa del Bosque, investigative reporter for ProPublica and author of the book Blood Lines says asset forfeiture is a source of tension between the two countries, in the El Chapo case and beyond. She says AMLO even started a committee to recapture El Chapo’s assets.

“What he’s saying is that, you know, these assets that belong to Chapo should go back to the people who suffered the most,” del Bosque says.  

It wouldn’t be the first time the United States tried to seize assets in cases involving a Mexican national. The former governor of the state of Aguascalientes had $6 million in assets forfeited in San Antonio.

Del Bosque says it’s fairly straightforward for the U.S. government to seize assets someone has in the U.S. But seizing assets in Mexico is more difficult. 

“Without the cooperation of Mexico, it will be impossible,” she says.

Written by Geronimo Perez.

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