Why It Will Be Hard For The US To Seize All Of El Chapo’s Assets

The cartel leader was prosecuted in the United States, but the Mexican government won’t let $12.6 billion of his assets go easily.

By Joy DiazJuly 23, 2019 11:53 am, ,

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,” Del Bosque says.


Written by Geronimo Perez.