That money belongs to us: Mexican President risks feud with Trump by demanding El Chapo's $12.6bn drug money be turned over to Mexico and NOT the US - after slamming Narco's life sentence in US jail as 'inhumane'

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is preparing himself for a showdown with the United States over Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán's fortune.
El Chapo was sentenced to life in jail at a New York City court this week by a federal judge who also ordered him to pay US authorities $12.6 billion - the figure he is estimated to have earned from drug trafficking as the head of the Sinaloa Cartel.
But on Thursday, López Obrador argued that the funds should be returned to El Chapo's home country of Mexico.
He also demanded that the US return the assets they had already seized from the gang leader. The US government estimates El Chapo's fortune at $14 billion. 
López Obrador revealed his plans after a conversation with the drug kingpin's Mexico-based attorney, José Luis González Meza.
'I think that everything that is confiscated and that has to do with Mexico has to be returned to the Mexicans,' the Mexican leader said.
'I believe that the United States government will agree, but we have to do the paperwork, because I do not remember which will be held before.'
López Obrador's calls for the money to be returned to Mexico, comes as US politicians lobbied for the billions to be spent to cover Donald Trump's controversial proposed border wall along the 1,954-mile long borderline with Mexico.
Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz told TMZ on Thursday: 'I think the next step is to criminally forfeit his entire global criminal enterprise,' Cruz said. 
'It's worth billions and we should use every penny of that money to build the wall and secure the border.' 
Cruz introduced what he calls the El Chapo Act, or Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act, which seeks all of the money Guzmán made to finance Trump's wall.
'Now finding those assets, getting those assets, won't be easy,' the senator said. 
'It's only fitting that money goes to secure the border and stop other traffickers.' 
Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse worked with Cruz to pen the bill and released a state that said that the federal government should fund the southern border wall with El Chapo's money.
'El Chapo's going to spend the rest of his life behind bars, so the feds should seize his drug money and use it to secure the border,' Sasse said.
'This convict doesn't need the cash – he'll be getting three square meals a day and making collect calls from the big house.' 
Mexico's president argued that past administrations never placed claims on assets that were confiscated from criminal figures.
But U.S. prosecutors are demanding he pay back $12.6 billion that he made off cocaine, marijuana and heroin sales during his 25 years at the helm of the international criminal enterprise.
'I listened very well to the lawyer. The confiscation of property, in any case is a matter of justice. These assets correspond to Mexico legally and the matter will be reviewed. I agree with what Guzmán Loera's lawyer said,' López Obrador.
Prosecutors estimated that El Chapo generated at least $11.8 billion in cocaine, $846 million in marijuana and $11 million in heroin.
López Obrador questioned whether the notorious Mexican cartel leader even had such amount of money stashed away. Some believe that the treasure could be hidden in some where within the 'Triángulo Dorado' [Golden Triangle], an area near Guzmán's hometown of La Tuna which is surrounded by the states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa y Durango in northwestern Mexico.
'It was once said that this character, this man, this person, was among the richest in the world and I didn't agree,' López Obrador.
'I truly believe that higher figures were given when there were traffickers of influence with much more money, but there was this assessment for political or advertising reasons. We must look at the wealth with all honesty and seriousness.' 
López Obrador also called the jail conditions of El Chapo 'inhumane', after the drug lord was rushed out of New York within hours of receiving life sentence. 
He said at his regular morning conference that sentences like the one for El Chapo - 'a sentence for life in a hostile jail, hard, inhumane' - made a life no longer worth living. 
The convicted Mexican drug lord was forced to immediately depart for the highest security prison in the U.S. to serve his term, his lawyer confirmed on Thursday. 
As well as his concern for the infamous kingpin's well-being, López Obrador criticized the violence he wrought over his long career, and said society needed moral reforms.
'I also have many victims in mind,' he added. 'It's something very painful.'
López Obrador has created a new militarized police force to bring down violence that has spiraled as cartels splinter and smaller groups fight for territory.
Last year, violence cost a record 33,000 lives. Those numbers continued surging in the first six months of López Obrador's term in office, which began in December.
When asked whether he expected violence to rise further over coming weeks following the sentencing of El Chapo, López Obrador said: 'No, on the contrary. We think that bit by bit the number of criminal incidents will decline.'
'We will continue to create a better society, supported by values, that is not based on accumulating material wealth, money or luxury,' López Obrador said.  
Following Guzmán's sentencing, a government helicopter took the Narco, notorious known for his daring jail breaks, away from the federal court in Brooklyn. 
Defense Attorney Jeffrey Lichtman was informed that his client was en-route to the supermax facility in Florence, Colorado.
For most defendants, there's a break between sentencing and a decision by the Bureau of Prisons on where to house them. 
In the case of Guzmán, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan agreed to a recommendation that the drug lord should remain in federal jail in Manhattan for an additional two months to help his lawyers mount an appeal. 
But that changed after it became clear that behind the scenes there already was a plan in place 'to get him out of the city as soon as possible,' Lichtman said.
Prison officials and prosecutors wouldn't talk about Guzmán's whereabouts on Thursday.
The 62-year-old Guzmán had been the subject of extreme security measures carrying an untold cost ever since his extradition to the U.S. in 2017 to face drug-trafficking charges. 
Authorities were determined to prevent any repeat of Guzmán's legendary jailbreaks in Mexico, including the one in 2015 involving a mile-long tunnel dug to the shower in his cell.
Guzmán was put in solitary confinement in a high-security wing of the Manhattan jail that has housed terrorists and mobsters.
'I drink unsanitary water, no air or sunlight, and the air pumped in makes my ears and throat hurt,' he said at sentencing. 'This has been psychological, emotional and mental torture 24 hours a day.'
For pretrial hearings in Brooklyn, authorities transporting Guzmán to and from jail shut down the Brooklyn Bridge to make way for a police motorcade that includes a SWAT team and an ambulance, all tracked by helicopters. 
Once the trial started, they secretly kept him locked up in the bowels of the courthouse during the week to make the logistics less arduous.
The apparent next - and last - stop for Guzmán: a prison sometimes called the 'Alcatraz of the Rockies.'
Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and Oklahoma City bombing accomplice Terry Nichols are among those who call it home.

That money belongs to us: Mexican President risks feud with Trump by demanding El Chapo's $12.6bn drug money be turned over to Mexico and NOT the US - after slamming Narco's life sentence in US jail as 'inhumane' That money belongs to us: Mexican President risks feud with Trump by demanding El Chapo's $12.6bn drug money be turned over to Mexico and NOT the US - after slamming Narco's life sentence in US jail as 'inhumane' Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 09:21 Rating: 5

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