Jury selection begins for El Chapo’s US trial

'El Chapo' Trial: Trial of alleged drug kingpin to begin in US

The trial of notorious Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman begins in a NY court on Monday with the selection of 12 anonymous jurors. Those men were tried on home turf, while Guzman was extradited from Mexico in 2017.

The trial is set to begin Monday with jury selection.

Judge Cogan also raised concerns at the hearing about the prosecutors' planned case at the hearing.

Guzman, 61, is charged with 17 criminal counts including drug trafficking, conspiring to murder rivals, money laundering, and weapons offenses.

He has been in solitary confinement in a high-security NY prison since Mexico extradited him to the United States in January 2017. In the Philippines, a recent arrest of a cop using cocaine inside a bar during a Halloween party has led the Philippine National Police to believe that the cartel has penetrated the domestic market through the Asian Triad. U.S. Marshals will escort them to and from the federal court every day.

U.S. prosecutors say that as the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman directed the global trafficking of multi-ton shipments of drugs, including heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine.

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.

Guzman's co-defendant Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada remains at large. 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".

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.

Prosecutors say that from 1989 to 2014, the cartel smuggled 154,626 kilograms of cocaine into the United States, as well as heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana, raking in $14 billion.

Until he was recaptured in early 2016 - and extradited to the United States in 2017 - he seemed largely untouchable.

Last year, Mexico witnessed a record 29,000 murders.

The only visitors he is allowed are his lawyers and twin, seven-year-old daughters, from whom he is separated by thick glass.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted to a helicopter in handcuffs by Mexican navy marines at a navy hanger in Mexico City in 2014.

Mexican authorities captured Guzman and an associate in January 2016 fleeing a raid on a house where he had been staying in northwest Mexico.

This time, Mexico chose to wash their hands of him and put him on a plane.

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