Jury selection begins for El Chapo's trial

'El Chapo' Trial: Trial of alleged drug kingpin to begin in US

Jury selection in the trial for the accused Mexican drug lord "El Chapo" begins Monday in Brooklyn.

USA prosecutors say that as the head of the Sinaloa Cartel since 2003, Guzman directed the movement of multi-ton shipments of drugs including heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine across borders and into the United States.

Mexico extradited Guzman to the United States in 2017, and ever since he has been held in solitary confinement at a NY federal prison.

The 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.

And for further protection- the jurors names will be withheld from the public. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

The Sinaloa cartel that Guzman founded in 1989 is still hugely powerful.

The judge also agreed with prosecutors that the jury for the case should be kept anonymous, a measure typical in terrorism or mob cases where jury intimidation is a concern.

Meanwhile, the diminutive Guzman, 61, appeared in Brooklyn federal court for the start of jury selection wearing a dark-blue suit and a white dress shirt with a spread collar that was unbuttoned at the top.

Opening statements are expected to begin November 13.

One of Mexico's most notorious drug lords will go on trial in the USA later on Monday. "This prosecution demonstrates that we will apply all available resources to dismantle the leadership of risky drug cartels, wherever they operate, and will not rest until we have done so'". Both were dismissed. One said she "read (Guzman's) family will come after jurors and their families" and the other said she was concerned about safety "in general".

A moment of levity came when one potential juror was asked about a deli near his workplace stocking a sandwich called "El Chapo".

Guzman is charged with 17 counts of murder, conspiracy, drug trafficking and money laundering.

Guzman was extradited to the United States in January 2017 on an indictment that detailed his alleged reign over a merciless trafficking organization controlled through murder and torture.

It is alleged that from 1989 to 2014, the cartel smuggled at least 340,892 pounds (154,626 kilograms) of cocaine into the USA, as well as heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana, raking in $14bn (£11bn).

He was extradited to the United States from Mexico on January 19, 2017, after escaping twice from Mexican prisons before being captured again.

Image: The shower where El Chapo escaped through a tunnel in 2015. He spends 23 hours a day in his cell.

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