Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman trial underway in N.Y

16 November, 2018, 15:47 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán following his extradition to the United States from Mexico in January 2017

Guzman, who twice dramatically escaped from Mexican maximum security prisons, has been kept in solitary confinement in Manhattan.

"Money. Drugs. Murder. That is what this case is about", Fels said.

But in opening statements, the defense alleged that Guzman's co-defendant who remains at large, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, was the real culprit.

While Guzman's defense team presents the charges leveled against their client as an global conspiracy, Mexico's current president Enrique Peña Nieto and his predecessor Felipe Calderón immediately rejected the allegations of corruption levelled against them.

He also suggested US law enforcement turned a blind eye to the situation. He was extradited to the United States in 2017 after twice escaping from prison in Mexico.

According to court filings, those witnesses will include former Sinaloa Cartel members and others involved in the drug trade who are now cooperating with the USA government. His trial is expected to last several months.

Guzman, who has been held in solitary confinement since his extradition to the United States early past year, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he collected a multi-billion-dollar fortune smuggling tons of cocaine and other drugs in a vast supply chain that reached well north of the Mexican-United States border.

Seventy-year-old Zambada has always been known to be one of Guzman's closest deputies.

"For 25 years he sent massive quantities of drugs [into the United States] and ran a vast narcotics empire", assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Fels told jurors as the long-awaited Brooklyn federal court trial against the alleged Mexican drug lord got underway. Instead, he became known as "the speedy one".

Hope said he has seen no sign that Guzman's extradition and jailing in the US had a major impact on drug flows or routes.

Guzman's extradition to New York City shook up Mexico's drug underworld.

As his business flourished using the tunnels, trains, planes and vessels, Guzman began taking aim at rivals in the early 1990s, leading to bloody wars.

Guzman, considered the world's largest drug trafficker since the death of Colombia's Pablo Escobar, is on trial in NY under draconian security arrangements after twice escaping from prison in Mexico.

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The prosecutor spoke of two dramatic escapes from prison by Guzman and said he was planning a third when he was brought to the U.S. One of his escapes in 2015 was through a mile-long tunnel dug into a shower in his jail cell that he slipped into before fleeing on a motorcycle.

"Why does the Mexican government need a scapegoat?"

Guzman used his wealth to buy off politicians, police chiefs, soldiers and judges, Mexican prosecutors say.

Prosecutors say he ruled Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel during the time period by using violence and mayhem. "Guzman himself pulled the trigger and ordered the disposal of bodies", Fels said.

Several former Guzman associates are known to have struck deals to cooperate with USA prosecutors, raising the possibility that they will appear on the witness stand.

The jurors will remain anonymous and be escorted to and from by armed US marshals. A jury has been picked for the USA trial of the Mexican drug lord.

Whether he is out for good will be decided by anonymous jury of seven women and five men who will decide the case.

It wasn't known how long it would take to get the alternate on the jury so both sides could make their opening statements.

Emma Coronel, center, the wife of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman leaves Brooklyn Federal court after opening arguments in the trial of the Mexican drug lord known as "El Chapo", Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in NY.

The security around him is so strict that U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan, who is presiding over the case, last week denied a motion by Guzman asking to hug his wife before the trial.

"El Chapo" seen in a Brooklyn courtroom Tue., Nov. 13, 2018.

NEW YORK - During the height of Mexican drug wars in 1993, an attempted hit on Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman went wrong.

A lawyer for the Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán has said that he was ready to defend his client, ahead of the trial opening in NY.

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