Jury selection for the trial against infamous drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman begins Monday, Nov. 5 in Brooklyn.
The massive trial against the 61-year-old former Sinaloa Cartel leader could take four months, according to Reuters, and be one of the most expensive in U.S. history. Because of the large amounts of security accompanying the jurors, Guzman, and others involved in the case, the Brooklyn Bridge could be closed twice a day until the trial is complete.
Guzman is facing 11 drug trafficking, conspiracy, money laundering, and weapons charges for his tenure as the leader of one of the world’s most powerful drug trafficking organizations, which he founded in the late 1980s. After escaping prison in Mexico twice, he was extradited to the U.S. on Jan. 19, 2017. He was first captured by Mexican authorities back in 2016. If he’s found guilty, Guzman could be in prison for the rest of his life.
The security of this case is crucial. Witnesses may testify under alias for their safety, and jurors on the case will also remain anonymous throughout the trial, while being escorted by U.S. Marshals to court everyday. Guzman did promise not to kill the jurors, but the extra security is definitely not a bad idea.
U.S. District Court Judge Brian Cogan, the judge presiding over the case, is currently trying to work out logistics so the Brooklyn Bridge won't have to be shut down for the next four months, according to USA Today. The courthouse is also being guarded with heavily armed officers and bomb-sniffing dogs.
Guzman allegedly led the cartel up until 2014, though he still maintained power over the drug organization through his sons. During his reign, prosecutors claim the carter smuggled a minimum of 340,892 pounds of cocaine and a number of other narcotics, earning $14 billion, according to Agence France-Presse.
Until the trial, Guzman has remained in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison, only allowed to see his lawyers and his twin daughters who are 7. AFP reports that his 29-year-old wife Emma Coronel attended his pre-trial hearing “waving and blowing him kisses from the gallery.”
Opening statements are scheduled to begin on Nov. 13.