The trial of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on drug trafficking and conspiracy charges, which is expected to last four months, began Monday with the selection of jurors in Brooklyn federal court.
According to the indictment, Guzman is responsible for ordering thousands of murders during the years his Sinaloa Cartel funneled 200 metric tons of cocaine as well as other drugs into the United States, pulling in $14 billion (€12.3 billion).
Prosecutors say they believe they can prove he was also involved in a 1992 shootout at a nightclub that left six people dead.
Identities of the 12 selected jurors and six alternates will remain anonymous and they will be escorted to and from the courthouse every day by armed U.S. marshals.
Jury selection is expected to take a few days with opening statements set to start on November 13.
After Felix Gallardo was arrested in 1989, Guzman's Sinaloa cartel began its meteoric rise. Guzman will join the ranks of mobsters John Gotti and Vincent Basciano, whose career-ending appearances in the Eastern District courthouse each brought in more than 1,000 potential jurors.
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U.S. 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. "Probably not. The machine keeps rolling", says Rob Heroy, a North Carolina lawyer who has defended other Mexican drug barons. Guzman pleads not guilty, but the government has presented so much evidence―more than 300,000 pages and at least 117,000 audio recordings―that the defense complains they haven't had enough time to review it all. His co-defendant Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada remains at large, and violent drug trafficking continues unabated in Mexico.
Potential jurors were quizzed Monday about their attitudes on drug trafficking and how much attention they have paid to news reports about Joaquin Guzman (wah-KEEN' gooz-MAHN'). Last year, there was a record 29,000 murders in Mexico.
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. Mexican authorities then recaptured the fugitive in January 2016.
The first day of jury selection has wrapped up in the NY trial of the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo.
He was arrested again by Mexican marines in February 2014 but escaped 14 months later before being re-captured in January 2016.
This time, Mexico made a decision to wash their hands of him and put him on a plane.