Capo no more, Sinaloa drug lord faces trial in NY

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 goes on trial in NY today, accused of running the world's biggest drug cartel and spending a quarter of a century smuggling cocaine into the US.

The accused killer drug boss did not make eye contact with the prospective jurors, even though they were seated no more than 10 feet away from the leader of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel during questioning. Given Guzman's current residence at a high-security prison in Manhattan, Federal agents are scrambling to find ways to transport him to the NYC borough without throwing a wrench in the city's traffic flow. Natasha Hussain has the details.

The Brooklyn Bridge was closed to traffic each time federal officials transported him from his cell for pretrial hearings at the federal courthouse near the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood.

The jurors were called into the courtroom wearing stickers identifying them by number, their names withheld to protect their safety.

Opening statements are expected to begin on November 13.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is at the center of a high-profile trial.

According to the indictment, Guzman is responsible for ordering thousands of murders during the years his Sinaloa Cartel funneled 200 metric tons of cocaine as well as other drugs into the United States, pulling in $14 billion (€12.3 billion).

Guzman has been held in solitary confinement in NY since Mexico extradited him in January 2017, one day before Donald Trump took office. His defense team says he has struggled to pay his legal bills. After a 2001 escape, he kept the machine moving while on the run, hiding for 13 years in plain sight.

The defendant accused of running the massive Sinaloa drug cartel, observed the first day of jury selection dressed in a navy suit, white shirt with a wide disco-style collar, flashing a smile but otherwise impervious. "Probably not. The machine keeps rolling", says Rob Heroy, a North Carolina lawyer who has defended other Mexican drug barons.

It is alleged that he spent a quarter of a century smuggling more than 155 tonnes of cocaine into the United States.

Prosecutors spent years piecing together a case against Guzman, who was extradited last year after twice escaping prison in Mexico - first hidden in a laundry cart, then slipping down a tunnel that reached his prison shower.

After two massive prison breaks by El Chapo in Mexico, authorities in the USA are taking every precaution to keep their notorious prisoner behind bars.

Bacon reported from Virginia.

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