Lawyer: El Chapo's Family to Build University in Mexico

Published: 14 October 2019

El Chapo In US

Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman (Photo: Ted Psahos)

By Nicholas Wells

The family of imprisoned drug kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo'' Guzman is planning on building Mexico’s first indigenous university and hopes President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrado will lay the cornerstone, according to a lawyer claiming to represent him.

José Luis González Meza, 73, made the announcement at a press conference on Friday, saying only indigenous students will be allowed to enrol in the university in Badiraguato, Sinaloa - El Chapo’s birthplace.

“What we are hoping for is that in the first round of President López Obrador’s trip to Sinaloa, he will go to Badiraguato and put the first stone together with El Chapo's mother, María Consuelo and finally the work to build that university begins,” Meza said during the press conference.

Lopez Obrador says he wants a new university to be built in the town, but previously said it would be one that focused on the forestry industry.

It’s not the only reputed plans for legitimate businesses by the imprisoned drug trafficker.

Meza says El Chapo’s family wants to build a series of co-op stores selling goods - such as food, coffee, beer and tequila - for dramatically reduced prices.

There are also plans to create a pharmaceutical company. Both these companies would be staffed by the local indigenous population.

But the plan hinges on keeping Guzman’s assets in Mexico.

Lopez Obrador said in July he agreed with Meza’s legal pitch to keep Guzman’s wealth in Mexico.

“I listened very well to the lawyer who said that the confiscation of property for justice matters correspond to Mexico and the matter will be reviewed. I agree with what Guzmán's lawyer said,” he said at a press conference.

But the United States - in an effort led by Senator Ted Cruz - wants to use the drug trafficker’s seized assets to pay for the proposed border wall along the US-Mexico border.

Dubbed the EL CHAPO Act - Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act - it would see the forfeit of drug traffickers’ assets into a Department of Justice fund to pay for the border wall.

The act has not yet been passed.

There has been some confusion over whether Meza actually represents the kingpin and his family.

The drug trafficker is said to have 13 lawyers at various times, but hasn’t confirmed whether Meza works for him.

When questioned about the work, Meza says he has documentation that proves he works for El Chapo.