Jury selection begins for El Chapo's USA trial

Joaquin El Chapo Guzman trial begins in New York Monday but it will be behind closed doors

Joaquin El Chapo Guzman trial begins in New York Monday but it will be behind closed doors

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's reputation as a murderous cocaine smuggler has federal authorities taking no chances as his trial gets underway.

Lawyers for Guzman said in a motion last week that they needed more time to review more than 14,000 pages documents, largely related to key witnesses expected to testify against their client, that prosecutors turned over.

The potential jurors arrived at the courthouse Monday to find it under tight security that included heavily armed officers, some doing sweeps with bomb-sniffing dogs.

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

The legal proceedings begin with its jury selection on Monday, November 5, in Brooklyn. 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.

After two massive prison breaks by El Chapo in Mexico, authorities in the United States are taking every precaution to keep their notorious prisoner behind bars. The 12 jurors and six alternate jurors chosen will be escorted to and from the courthouse by armed U.S. marshals.

"What scares me is that his family could come after jurors and their families", one of the women told the court, just feet away from where Guzman was sitting, saying she felt "nervous" and "unsafe".

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"I don't know why it's called the 'El Chapo,"' he said. The Sinaloa cartel that Guzman founded in 1989 is still hugely powerful.

Guzman was extradited to the United States in January 2017 on an indictment that detailed his alleged reign over a merciless trafficking organization controlled through murder and torture.

Prosecutors describe Guzman as one of the most unsafe and feared drug kingpins, who between 1989 and 2014 ran the world's largest drug trafficking organization.

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

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

Previously, a federal judge said in light of the history of violence surrounding the cartel which El Chapo allegedly ran and the high-profile nature of the case, he has granted jurors anonymity in the trial.

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