Jury Selection to Begin in Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Trial
Jury Selection to Begin in Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Trial
Joaquin"El Chapo Guzman is escorted by U.S. agents after arriving from Mexico in Ronkonkoma N.Y. on Jan. 19 2017
07 November, 2018, 15:31
The New York trial began Monday under razor tight security for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman accused of running the world's biggest drug cartel and spending a quarter of a century smuggling more than 155 tons of cocaine into the United States.
USA prosecutors say that as the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman directed the movement of multi-ton shipments of drugs including heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine across borders and into the United States.
The ruthless reputation of the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo has sparked security concerns at his upcoming US trial.
The courthouse was a veritable fortress Monday, as heavily armed officers and bomb-sniffing dogs periodically checked the exterior.
El Chapo pleaded not guilty to all the crimes against him - global drug trafficking, gun charges, money laundering, and more.
Authorities say he maintained his grip on the Sinaloa Cartel.
The 12 jurors, with six alternates, will remain anonymous and will be escorted by USA marshals to and from court every day.
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.
Opening statements in the trial are expected on November 13.
The judge struck two women after they raised security concerns about presiding over the proceedings, expected to cost millions and turn into the most expensive federal trial in USA history. "This prosecution demonstrates that we will apply all available resources to dismantle the leadership of unsafe drug cartels, wherever they operate, and will not rest until we have done so'".
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Security for the trial is expected to be high, and not just for Guzman who escaped twice from Mexican prisons.
Guzman has pleaded not guilty to charges of running a massive drug-trafficking operation in North America, including money laundering, kidnapping and murder in cities throughout the United States, including Chicago, Miami and NY. 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. As a reason, the judge cited prosecutors" contention that Guzman's cartel "employs "sicarios, ' or hit men, who carried out hundreds of acts of violence, including murders, assaults and kidnappings". He spends 23 hours a day in his cell.
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