Jury selection begins in trial of drug kingpin El Chapo

Glen Norman
November 8, 2018

Amid heavy security, jury selection began Monday in Brooklyn federal court for the criminal enterprise and conspiracy trial against the legendary accused drug lord whose electrifying escapes from Mexican prisons captured headlines worldwide.

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.

He was extradited to the US a year ago.

The courthouse was a veritable fortress Monday, as heavily armed officers and bomb-sniffing dogs periodically checked the exterior. He faces life in prison if convicted in this trial, which is set for opening statements to begin November 13.

Opening arguments are scheduled to start on November 13, after a week of jury selection, held behind closed doors under security reserved for the most unsafe defendants.

After two massive prison breaks by El Chapo in Mexico, authorities in the U.S. are taking every precaution to keep their notorious prisoner behind bars.

There were also questioned in Brooklyn's federal court about their views on the legalization of marijuana, their fluency with Spanish and their feelings toward both law enforcement and cooperating witnesses. Prosecutors have also sought to hide the identity of co-operating witnesses out of concerns the cartel could seek retribution, while a judge is keeping the jury anonymous to protect them from intimidation.

The Mexican drug lord is accused of running the world's most powerful drug cartel.

"I feel very badly about drugs", she said, when Cogan asked about the answer.

Until he was recaptured in early 2016 - and extradited to the United States in 2017 - he seemed largely untouchable. "I think this is indicative of the fact that the Sinaloa cartel has probably infiltrated the drug industry in our country", said PNP spokesman Senior Supt. These ordinary men and women will determine whether Guzman―the diminutive father of two whose nickname means "shorty"―is guilty or not of 11 trafficking, firearms and money laundering charges.

After Guzman was brought to NY, authorities here decided he should be housed in solitary confinement in a high-security wing of a federal jail in Manhattan that has held notorious terrorists and mobsters. Prosecutors say the Sinaloa Cartel, named for Guzman's home state, smuggled more than 200 tons of cocaine into the United States. He spends 23 hours a day in his cell.

Previously, a federal judge said in light of the history of violence surrounding the cartel which El Chapo allegedly ran and the high-profile nature of the case, he has granted jurors anonymity in the trial.

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