Jury selection begins in trial of drug kingpin El Chapo

Joaquin El Chapo Guzman trial begins in New York Monday but it will be behind closed doors

Joaquin El Chapo Guzman trial begins in New York Monday but it will be behind closed doors

Jury selection has begun under tight security at the NY trial of the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo (ehl CHAH'-poh). Due to security concerns, the jurors' identity will be kept secret and they will be guarded by armed marshals on the way from court to home during the expected four-month trial.

"What scares me is that his family could come after jurors and their families", one of the women told the court, just feet away from where Guzman was sitting, saying she felt "nervous" and "unsafe".

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 one of the world's most notorious criminals face the USA justice system.

Opening statements are expected November 13.

In a sign of the level of attention on the case and the notoriety of the defendant, the jury will be kept anonymous. Opening statements are likely November 13. He's been held in solitary confinement in a high-security federal cell in Manhattan since January 2017, when Mexico agreed to allow his extradition to the United States for trial. U.S. prosecutors contend that from 1989 to 2014, the cartel smuggled at least 340,892 pounds (154,626 kilograms) of cocaine into the United States, as well as heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana, raking in $14 billion.

Although the charges in the case all relate to drug trafficking, prosecutors are also expected to introduce evidence that Guzman was involved in multiple murder plots in the course of his career, including in wars with rival cartels.

Guzman's lawyers say the allegations are based on the false testimony of killers and drug dealers. His defense team says he has struggled to pay his legal bills.

TRT World's Nick Harper is outside the Brooklyn Federal Court. The dramatic escape triggered a worldwide manhunt that ended six months later in a deadly shootout in Los Mochis, a coastal city in Sinaloa.

That tipped off investigators to his location. Others recalled how he did an interview with actor Sean Penn while he was on the run.

He was captured in Guatemala in 1993 and extradited to Mexico. He was recaptured in Mexico in February 2014.

"It's probably set up to be the most expensive trial in the history of the USA", said Rob Heroy, a North Carolina lawyer who has defended other Mexican drug barons.

According to court filings, prosecution witnesses will include former Sinaloa Cartel members and others involved in the drug trade who are now cooperating with the USA government.

He is accused of having a hand in dozens of murders, of using his drug cartel to smuggle more than 200 tons of cocaine into the United States, even pulling off running the massive operation from behind bars.

In his way now is a lineup of government witnesses who survived the wave of violence and are expected to give details about the ruthless way he kept power for 20 years in the cutthroat world of global drug trafficking. "Guzman Loera made billions of illicit dollars". McCoy reported from NY.

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