The trial of alleged Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is set to begin today (Nov. 5). Jury selection will start in New York’s Eastern District Court in Brooklyn.
After escaping from Mexican supermax prisons not once but twice, El Chapo, the suspected leader of the infamous Sinaloa drug cartel, was extradited to the U.S. last year.
Basically, El Chapo has been hit with all the charges—three decades worth.
Reports the Los Angeles Times:
The indictment alone spans almost three decades. It paints Guzman by turns as a gifted executive and a ruthless killer who built the Sinaloa cartel into “the largest drug trafficking organization in the world” using novel trade routes and traditional modes of corruption to conduct billions of dollars in cash transactions and almost incomprehensible volumes of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and synthetic opioids across U.S. borders and around the world.
“Needless to say, the government has been playing Javert to Mr. Guzman’s Jean Valjean for a long time,” Guzman’s defense team wrote in a motion in July, casting the billionaire as Victor Hugo’s persecuted hero in “Les Miserables.” But the hundreds of thousands of pages of documents prosecutors used to bolster their case, by comparison, dwarf Hugo’s two-volume epic.
The months-long trial is also expected to include dozens of witnesses, many of them convicted criminals who will be brought from prisons across the United States. U.S. prosecutors have gone to great lengths to protect their identities, feuding with Guzman’s lawyers for months about what they would reveal and when.
Prayers up to the eventual jurors and hopefully that witness list stays secret.
Reportedly, the Brooklyn Bridge will be closed each time he heads to court. The stakes are that high.