Accused Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' faces USA trial

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

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. Guzman sat at the defense table listening through an interpreter and wearing street clothes - a dark suit and a white shirt with an open collar - instead of a jail uniform for the first time since he was extradited to the United States early past year.

During the trial there will be increased security, including patrols by heavily armed federal agents.

Guzman's defense attorneys have argued the level of security creates a public spectacle that's prejudicial to jurors.

Guzman's Sinaloa cartel often described as the largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization in the Western Hemisphere, is believed to be operating in at least 40 countries.

He was recruited by Guadalajara cartel boss Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, known as "The Godfather" of Mexico's modern drug cartels.

The 12 jurors, with six alternates, will remain anonymous and will be escorted by United States marshals to and from court every day.

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

Opening statements are expected to begin November 13. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says he was able to remain a force by communicating with his son and other cartel leaders through lawyers and others who visited him at the Altiplano prison outside Mexico City. US Marshals will escort them to and from court every day. Both were dismissed. One said she "read (Guzman's) family will come after jurors and their families" and the other said she was concerned about safety "in general".

Arrested for the first time in Guatemala in 1993, El Chapo spent more than seven years in a Mexican prison before his first escape in 2001.

El Chapo made world headlines in July 2015 when he slipped out of his cell at the maximum security Altiplano federal prison via a mile-long underground tunnel.

Guzman, who allegedly continued to run the world's largest drug-trafficking operation even while behind bars in Mexico, now faces the possibility of life imprisonment in the United States. Prosecutors say the Sinaloa Cartel, named for Guzman's home state, smuggled more than 200 tons of cocaine into the United States.

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.

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