Trial of drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman to begin in US with anonymous jury and high security
08 November, 2018, 01:06
Amid heavy security, jury selection began Monday in Brooklyn federal court for the criminal enterprise and conspiracy trial against the legendary accused drug lord whose electrifying escapes from Mexican prisons captured headlines worldwide.
American prosecutors have accused Joaquin Guzman of overseeing a multibillion-dollar drug operation and a ruthless campaign of murders and kidnappings of his rivals.
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 United States prison.
Potential jurors, including a Michael Jackson impersonator, arrived to court to see it surrounded by heavily armed guards and bomb sniffing dogs that had staged a perimeter.
Most of the jurors questioned at the outset said Guzman's name "sounded familiar" to them. If convicted, Guzman faces life in prison.
Jury selection will be conducted in security conditions reserved only for the most unsafe defendants. 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. "This prosecution demonstrates that we will apply all available resources to dismantle the leadership of unsafe drug cartels, wherever they operate, and will not rest until we have done so'". U.S. Marshals will escort them to and from the federal court every day.
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So far only two potential jurors have expressed fear about safety.
"I feel very badly about drugs", she said, when Cogan asked about the answer. The Sinaloa cartel that Guzman founded in 1989 is still hugely powerful.
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.
The former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel was extradited to the United States from Mexico early past year. Prosecutors say the Sinaloa Cartel, named for Guzman's home state, smuggled more than 200 tons of cocaine into the United States.
Pretrial hearings held in early October forced law enforcement officials to close the Brooklyn Bridge up to twice a day as they transported Guzman to and from the courthouse located near the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood and his high-security residence.
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