ibusinesslines.com December 14, 2018

El Chapo faces biggest US drugs trial

06 November 2018, 06:13 | Erica Roy

Security tight as 'El Chapo' Guzman trial set to open in Brooklyn

El Chapo goes on trial over drugs, Latest World News

The US trial of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on drug trafficking and conspiracy charges has begun with the selection of jurors in a federal court in Brooklyn.

Joaquin Guzman is accused of laundering billions of dollars through his alleged drug cartel, and overseeing a campaign of brutal murders and kidnappings.

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

Potential jurors arrived at the courthouse Monday to find it under tight security that included heavily armed officers, some doing sweeps with bomb-sniffing dogs.

Image: The shower where El Chapo escaped through a tunnel in 2015. He twice escaped from maximum security prisons in Mexico, and authorities have sought to protect trial witnesses from possible cartel retribution.

Jury selection will take place amid tight security conditions reserved only for the most risky defendants. Jurors will also be escorted by USA marshals to court daily while remaining anonymous throughout the trial.

The ruthless reputation of the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo has sparked security concerns at his upcoming US trial. In the United States, opioid addiction has spiralled into an epidemic.

According to the indictment, the Sinaloa cartel, which Guzman is accused of leading from 1989 to 2014, became "the largest drug trafficking organization in the world. with thousands of members". Prosecutors say the Sinaloa Cartel, named for Guzman's home state, smuggled more than 200 tons of cocaine into the United States. Even Guzman's lawyers are in the dark as to all the former associates, hired hands or rivals who have turned informants. Some mentioned they were aware he had escaped from prison in Mexico.

That criminal pedigree has prompted authorities here to keep him in solitary confinement at a New York City jail.

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.

In a secret meeting with actor Sean Penn which the Hollywood star wrote about in Rolling Stone magazine in 2016, Guzman boasted: "I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world".

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