The trial of accused Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman begins Monday in NY with jury selection. Prosecutors spent years piecing together a sweeping case against Guzman, who was extradited in 2017 after twice escaping prison in Mexico―first hidden in a laundry cart, then slipping down a tunnel that reached his prison shower.
Potential jurors arrived at the courthouse Monday to find it under tight security that included heavily armed officers, some doing sweeps with bomb-sniffing dogs.
The names of the witnesses have been blacked out on court documents with prosecutors saying their identities need to be protected because their cooperation could put them in the crosshairs of a vengeful cartel.
Guzman's Sinaloa cartel often described as the largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization in the Western Hemisphere, is believed to be operating in at least 40 countries.
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Guzman, 61, formerly led the Sinaloa Cartel, named after its base in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. The 12 jurors and six alternate jurors chosen will be escorted to and from the courthouse by armed U.S. marshals.
Jury selection is expected to take a few days with opening statements set to start on November 13. The mammoth trial in a Brooklyn federal court, which will cost millions of dollars and is expected to last more than four months, will see Chapo, one of the world's most notorious criminals, face the United States justice system.
U.S. prosecutors have spent years piecing together a case that they hope will end with the 61-year-old spending the rest of his life in a maximum-security USA prison.
"I feel very badly about drugs", she said, when Cogan asked about the answer.
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It is alleged that he spent a quarter of a century smuggling more than 155 tonnes of cocaine into the United States.
Guzman is charged with 17 counts of murder, conspiracy, drug trafficking and money laundering.
Guzman has pleaded not guilty to charges of running a massive drug-trafficking operation in North America, including money laundering, kidnapping and murder in cities throughout the United States, including Chicago, Miami and NY. As a reason, the judge cited prosecutors" contention that Guzman's cartel "employs "sicarios, ' or hit men, who carried out hundreds of acts of violence, including murders, assaults and kidnappings". "I don't know why it's called the El Chapo, but it's delicious", he added to laughter from Guzman's lawyer and an unimpressed defendant.
Mexican druglord "El Chapo" Guzman is on the run from police after making a daring escape from Mexico's most secure prison.
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