Jury selection begins for El Chapo's US trial

Jury selection begins for El Chapo's US trial

Jury selection begins for El Chapo's US trial

Al Jazeera's Gabriel Elizondo reports from Brooklyn, New York.

The trial of extradited Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is set to begin on Monday in federal court in Brooklyn, where he is facing drug trafficking and conspiracy charges. "I don't know why it's called the El Chapo, but it's delicious", he added to laughter from Guzman's lawyer and an unimpressed defendant. "I think this dope situation in Southeast Asia is being run by the Triad of Asia". His trial is expected to last two to four months.

One of those dismissed was a woman who had written on her questionnaire, "Drugs are bad for you".

Mr Heroy estimates the trial will cost United States taxpayers "more than US$50 million", a price tag that includes protection programmes for at least some of the hundreds of witnesses expected to testify. As a result, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Cogan announced that a plan to keep the high-profile inmate stationary in one location could be developed, but did not confirm its existence, according to USA Today.

The required security to ensure each parties safety is unprecedented and it expected to cause the Brooklyn Bridge to be closed twice a day until the end of the trial.

"Is it going to stop even one additional pound of cocaine from coming into the US? Probably not. The machine keeps rolling", says Rob Heroy, a North Carolina lawyer who has defended other Mexican drug barons.

Guzman, 61, formerly led the Sinaloa Cartel, named after its base in the Mexican state of Sinaloa.

The Sinaloa cartel that Guzman founded in 1989 is still hugely powerful and his co-defendant Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada remains at large.

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.

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

A look at those concerns for a trial that is starting Monday with jury selection.

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

Identities of the 12 selected jurors and six alternates will remain anonymous and they will be escorted to and from the courthouse every day by armed United States marshals. US Marshals will escort them to and from court every day.

It is alleged that from 1989 to 2014, the cartel smuggled at least 340,892 pounds (154,626 kilograms) of cocaine into the USA, as well as heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana, raking in $14bn (£11bn).

Related news