Reputation precedes 'El Chapo' as US trial approaches

Reputation precedes 'El Chapo' as US trial approaches

Reputation precedes 'El Chapo' as US trial approaches

The trial of notorious Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman starts Monday with jury selection in New York City.

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

But that could create a logistical nightmare during the trial, and there is speculation that "El Chapo" is being held in a cell deep within the Brooklyn courthouse.

The identities of most scheduled prosecution witnesses also are being kept secret.

An anonymous pool of potential jurors - gleaned from 1,000 New Yorkers who were sent a 31-page questionnaire - will arrive in Brooklyn federal court, where they will lay eyes on the runty drug baron himself as they are probed as potential panelists at Guzman Loera's trial on drug-conspiracy charges.

Potential jurors will be asked if they know of Guzman and if they or anyone close to them has ever felt fearful or threatened by people who they thought were associated with drug crimes.

Opening statements are tentatively scheduled for November 13.

Prosecutors say the US government is seeking a $14 billion forfeiture order as part of the case.

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.

Federal prosecutors say from January 1989 to December 2014, Guzman's cartel was responsible for importing and distributing massive amounts of illegal narcotics and killed those who threatened the enterprise.

A few months earlier, Guzman gave a widely publicised interview to American actor Sean Penn for Rolling Stone magazine in which he said: "I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world".

He has been in solitary confinement in a high-security NY prison since Mexico extradited him to the United States in January 2017.

Authorities say he maintained his grip on the Sinaloa Cartel.

U.S. 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.

USA prosecutors have spent years piecing together a sweeping case against Guzman, which they hope will end with the 61-year-old spending the rest of his life in a maximum-security U.S. prison.

The judge struck two women after they raised security concerns about presiding over the proceedings, expected to cost millions and turn into the most expensive federal trial in United States history. In the USA, opioid addiction has spiralled into an epidemic.

Bacon reported from Virginia.

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