Jury selection begins for El Chapo's trial

08 November, 2018, 01:07 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • 'El Chapo' Trial: Trial of alleged drug kingpin to begin in US

The trial of accused Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman begins Monday in NY with jury selection.

The alleged drug kingpin is accused of running a cartel that laundered billions of dollars while overseeing ruthless kidnappings and murders.

Lawyers for Guzman said in a motion last week that they needed more time to review more than 14,000 pages documents, largely related to key witnesses expected to testify against their client, that prosecutors turned over.

Heavily armed agents were standing guard Monday morning as barricades surrounded the Brooklyn federal courthouse for the start of jury selection.

The jurors were called into the courtroom wearing stickers identifying them by number, their names withheld to protect their safety.

El Chapo pleaded not guilty to all the crimes against him - global drug trafficking, gun charges, money laundering, and more.

A look at those concerns for a trial that is starting Monday with jury selection.

United States prosecutors have spent years piecing together a case that they hope will end with the 61-year-old spending the rest of his life in a maximum-security United States prison. US Marshals will escort them to and from the federal court every day.

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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.

The judge also agreed with prosecutors that the jury for the case should be kept anonymous, a measure typical in terrorism or mob cases where jury intimidation is a concern.

One juror was excused after she said she couldn't be impartial, saying, "I feel very bad about drugs".

Joaquin Archivaldo Guzmán Loera has always made up for his size, even if his nickname, "El Chapo", or Shorty, is a constant reminder of his squat, 5-feet-5-inches frame.

After Felix Gallardo was arrested in 1989, Guzman's Sinaloa cartel began its meteoric rise.

Guzman, 61, has been in solitary confinement since being extradited to the United States from Mexico in January 2017.

It is alleged that from 1989 to 2014, the cartel smuggled at least 340,892 pounds (154,626 kilograms) of cocaine into the U.S., as well as heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana, raking in $14bn (£11bn).

Security for the trial is expected to be high, and not just for Guzman who escaped twice from Mexican prisons.

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