El Chapo trial expected to open in NY

07 November, 2018, 15:32 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Joaquin El Chapo Guzman trial begins in New York Monday but it will be behind closed doors

The almost-mythical criminal pedigree of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who was extradited in 2017 to face US drug conspiracy charges, has sparked security concerns at his upcoming New York City trial that at times have drawn as much attention as the case's sensational allegations. 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.

As CBS2's Janelle Burrell reported Monday, security will be tight for both Guzman and the potential jurors.

Opening arguments are scheduled to start on November 13, after a week set aside for jury selection, held behind closed doors with only a select "pool" of reporters admitted under the tightest security reserved for the most risky defendants.

Judge Cogan also raised concerns at the hearing about the prosecutors' planned case at the hearing. If convicted, Guzman faces life in prison.

Prosecutors say Guzman was in the habit of ordering the killings of anyone who got in his way during his heyday in Mexico as boss of the Sinaloa cartel.

The now imprisoned brothers paid a steep price for flipping: Prosecutors say in 2009 their father was murdered in Mexico by a cartel hit team. In the United States, opioid addiction has spiralled into an epidemic.

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The mammoth trial in a Brooklyn federal court starts on Monday, will cost millions of dollars and is expected to last more than four months.

El Chapo notoriously escaped from confinement in Mexico twice, which is in part the reason for the extreme security measures surrounding his confinement and extra measures during any of his transportation.

Guzman's co-defendant Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada remains at large. Some of them are being held in special jail units, while others are in witness protection programs.

After Felix Gallardo was arrested in 1989, Guzman's Sinaloa cartel began its meteoric rise. "I think this is indicative of the fact that the Sinaloa cartel has probably infiltrated the drug industry in our country", said PNP spokesman Senior Supt. In 2016, an average of 174 Americans died every day from drug overdoses. The judge has banned his 29-year-old beauty queen wife, Emma Coronel, from visiting.

Re-arrested in February 2014, he escaped again 14 months later.

In a secret meeting with actor Sean Penn which the Hollywood star wrote about in Rolling Stone magazine in 2016, Guzman boasted: "I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world".

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