Tight security as trial for alleged Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' begins

Tight security as trial for alleged Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' begins

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

Guzman has pleaded not guilty to charges that his Sinaloa cartel smuggled tons of cocaine and other drugs, laundered billions of dollars and oversaw a ruthless campaign of murders and kidnappings.

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

Cogan last week barred members of the public from attending the trial sessions when potential jurors are asked about their knowledge of the case, any hesitation about serving, and whether they can render a fair and impartial verdict. If convicted, Guzman faces life in prison. He was known internationally as the head of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel. Prosecutors have also sought to hide the identity of cooperating witnesses out of concerns the cartel could seek retribution, while a judge is keeping the jury anonymous to protect them from intimidation.

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 scheduled to begin on November 13.

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.


One of Mexico's most notorious drug lords will go on trial in the United States later on Monday.

"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".

El Chapo was captured by the Mexican Army in December 2016. USA authorities have described the group as one of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the world.

United States prosecutors contend from 1989 to 2014, the Sinaloa cartel smuggled at least 155 tonnes of cocaine into the U.S., as well as heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana, raking in US$14 billion (S$19 billion).

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.

After Felix Gallardo was arrested in 1989, Guzman's Sinaloa cartel began its meteoric rise. He spends 23 hours a day in his cell.

Pretrial hearings held in early October forced law enforcement officials to close the Brooklyn Bridge up to twice a day as they transported Guzman to and from the courthouse located near the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood and his high-security residence.

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