Published: Tue, November 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

El Chapo faces biggest US drugs trial

El Chapo faces biggest US drugs trial

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 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.

Guzman escaped prison twice in Mexico, once in a laundry basket in 2001 after running the cartel from a cell for seven years. 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.

And for further protection- the jurors names will be withheld from the public.

But that could create a logistical nightmare during the trial, and there is speculation that "El Chapo" is being held in a cell deep within the Brooklyn courthouse.

Experts say the government has a near water-tight case likely to send Guzman, 61, to a maximum-security United States prison for the rest of his life, after jury selection kicks off on Monday.

Unlike most Americans who get called for jury duty, those interviewed Monday seemed genuinely eager to serve.

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The 12 jurors, with six alternates, will remain anonymous and will be escorted by United States marshals to and from court every day.

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.

The ruthless reputation of the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo has sparked security concerns at his upcoming USA trial.

Guzman, 61, formerly led the Sinaloa Cartel, named after its base in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, which became one of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the world.

The U.S. Justice Department said that as a leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman oversaw the smuggling of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana to distributors in multiple major U.S. cities.

Last year, there was a record 29,000 murders in Mexico. Some mentioned they were aware he had escaped from prison in Mexico. This time, Mexico made a decision to wash their hands and put him on a plane.

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