Exclusive-Steve Daines: Seizing El Chapo’s Assets Would Build the Wall, Make the Cartels Pay for It

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo,

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview Wednesday that he would back President Donald Trump’s potential designation of the Mexican cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations and that seizing cartel leader El Chapo’s assets would build the wall and make the cartels pay for it.

President Trump told Breitbart News in March that his administration continues to think “very seriously” about labeling violent Mexican drug cartels, or factions of those cartels, Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs).

“We are. We are,” Trump said. “We’re thinking about doing it very seriously. In fact, we’ve been thinking about it for a long time.”

“It’s psychological, but it’s also economic,” Trump continued. “As terrorists — as terrorist organizations, the answer is yes. They are.”

FTO designations play a critical role in America’s fight against terrorism and serve as an effective means against curtailing support for terrorist activities and help pressure groups to get out of illicit business, according to the State Department. 

Daines told Breitbart News that he would back the president designating the Mexican cartels as FTOs and said, further, that he backs Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) legislation to seize Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s assets to pay for the wall. 

Sen. Cruz’s legislation would seize more than $14 billion in drug proceeds and illicit profits from El Chapo, the former leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, which the government could use to pay for a significant portion of President Trump’s border wall.

“I would,” Daines said, contending he would back Trump’s potential designation of the cartels as FTOs. “I would, in fact. I like what Sen. Cruz was also considering with the bill, why should we not be able to seize like El Chapo’s assets? Billions of dollars we could seize and why not redirect that to building the wall? It would absolutely fulfill president Trump’s promise to build the wall and make Mexico pay for it. In this case, it would be a Mexican cartel paying for it would be an excellent idea.”

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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