El Chapo's U.S. drugs trial kicks off under tight security

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

He said he was concerned that the prosecutors had indicated that they were prepared to present evidence that Guzman was involved in more than 30 murder conspiracies, even though the charges against him are for drug trafficking. Citizens who are in consideration to be a part of the jury for the trial reportedly filled out an extensive questionnaire to see if anyone knows of the alleged drug lord.

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

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

For pre-trial hearings, authorities opted to transport him to and from jail by shutting down the Brooklyn Bridge to make way for a police motorcade that included a SWAT team and an ambulance, all tracked by helicopters.

El Chapo made world headlines in July 2015 when he slipped out of his cell at the maximum security Altiplano federal prison via a mile-long underground tunnel.

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Opening statements in the trial are expected on November 13.

The U.S. Justice Department said that as a leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman oversaw the smuggling of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana to distributors in multiple major U.S. cities.

Security for the trial is expected to be high, and not just for Guzman who escaped twice from Mexican prisons. Others recalled how he did an interview with actor Sean Penn while he was on the run.

El Chapo - "Shorty", for his 5-foot-6 stature - has been an iconic figure in the drug trade for decades. He was recaptured in Mexico in February 2014. The mammoth trial in a Brooklyn federal court, which will cost millions of dollars and is expected to last more than four months, will see Chapo, one of the world's most notorious criminals, face the USA justice system. In the United States, opioid addiction has spiraled into an epidemic. Guzman sat at the defense table listening through an interpreter and wearing street clothes - a dark suit and a white shirt with an open collar - instead of a jail uniform for the first time since he was extradited to the United States early past year.

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. "Guzman Loera made billions of illicit dollars". US Marshals will escort them to and from court every day. McCoy reported from NY.

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