The trial of the Mexican drug lord & # 39; El Chapo & # 39; should begin in the US

The trial of the Mexican drug lord & # 39; El Chapo & # 39; should begin in the US

The trial of Mexican drug lord Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera, also known as "El Chapo", begins in New York on Monday.

The notorious leader of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel is accused of 17 cases, including murder plot, drug trafficking and money laundering.

The trial, which will take place in federal court in Brooklyn, is expected to take more than four months.

According to the indictment, the Sinaloa cartel, which Guzman had led from 1989 to 2014, became "the largest drug smuggling organization in the world … with thousands of members."

US prosecutors claim that from 1989 to 2014, the cartel smuggled at least 154,626 kg of cocaine into the United States, as well as heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana, and would pay $ 14 billion.

Guzman does not plead guilty, but the US government has put forward so much evidence – more than 300,000 pages and at least 117,000 audio recordings – that the defense complains about not having enough time to review everything.

"Nobody will be as willing to try this case as he would like to be," District Judge Brian Cogan said at a hearing last month.

The final selection of the jury is under security conditions reserved for the most dangerous defendants only. Cogan will lead the process behind closed doors.

The 12 jurors with six substitutes remain anonymous. US officers will escort them to and from the court every day.

Arrests and escape

61-year-old Guzman has been named the biggest drug lord in the world since Colombia's Pablo Escobar, known as the "King of Cocaine," and was one of the richest men in the world until the police shot him dead in 1993.

After his first arrest in Guatemala in 1993 Guzman spent more than seven years in a Mexican prison before fleeing in 2001.

In February 2014, he was again arrested by Mexican Marines, but escaped again 14 months later.

Guzman was arrested again in January 2016 following a visit by Hollywood actor Sean Penn and a Mexican actress who wanted to make a movie about his life, and allowed the Mexican authorities to track down his whereabouts.

This time, Mexico decided to put him on a plane and send it to the United States. Since then, Guzman spends his time in solitary confinement.

Despite the arrest, the Sinaloa cartel is still enormously strong.

His co-commander Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada remains at liberty, and the violent drug trafficking continues unabated in Mexico.

"Drug trafficking does not depend on one person, but on many people," Guzman said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 2016.

WATCH: El Chapo study: For the drug cartel of Sinaloa it is as usual

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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