Mexican drug lord El Chapo goes on trial in NY

'El Chapo' Trial: Trial of alleged drug kingpin to begin in US

'El Chapo' Trial: Trial of alleged drug kingpin to begin in US

Jury selection began Monday for the USA trial of Joaquin Guzman "El Chapo" Guzman with potential jurors, including a self-described professional Michael Jackson impersonator, quizzed about how much they knew about Guzman's reputation as a ruthless drug lord in Mexico. The Mexican drug lord is accused of running the world's most powerful drug cartel.

Guzman faces 11 trafficking, firearms and money laundering charges. Natasha Hussain has the details. In the U.S., opioid addiction has spiralled into an epidemic.

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.

He's been held in solitary confinement in a high-security federal cell at the Manhattan Correctional Center since January 2017, when Mexico agreed to allow his extradition to the United States for trial. Guzman has been held in solitary confinement in NY since Mexico extradited him in January 2017, one day before Donald Trump took office. His co-defendant Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada remains at large, and violent drug trafficking continues unabated in Mexico.

The legal proceedings begin with its jury selection on Monday, November 5, in Brooklyn.

Guzman, 61, formerly led the Sinaloa Cartel, named after its base in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. As jury selection is being held behind closed doors, she did not attend Monday. "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.

A Mexican official told Reuters at the time that the move was a show of goodwill to incoming US President Donald Trump, who was inaugurated the next day, though Alberto Elias Beltran, Mexico's assistant attorney general for worldwide affairs, denied any connection.

There's now speculation that a special cell for Guzman has been set up in the bowels of the courthouse where he will spend the night after his days in court. 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.

The only visitors he is allowed are his three lawyers and twin seven-year-old daughters - the judge banned his 29-year-old beauty queen wife, Emma Coronel, from visiting. Instead, she has attended nearly all his pretrial hearings, waving and blowing him kisses from the gallery. Mexican authorities then recaptured the fugitive in January 2016.

This time, Mexico made a decision to wash their hands of him and put him on a plane.

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