Jury selection begins for El Chapo's United States trial

'El Chapo' Trial: Trial of alleged drug kingpin to begin in US

Guzman managed to escape from prison in Mexico twice before being extradited to the U.S. on January 19, 2017.

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

Guzman's co-defendant Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada remains at large.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is at the center of a high-profile trial.

Guzman will join the ranks of mobsters John Gotti and Vincent Basciano, whose career-ending appearances in the Eastern District courthouse each brought in more than 1,000 potential jurors.

Authorities are boosting security for the trial, including keeping confidential the names of the 12 people who will be picked to serve on the jury and the six alternates.

The accused killer drug boss did not make eye contact with the prospective jurors, even though they were seated no more than 10 feet away from the leader of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel during questioning.

During Guzman's reign, the cartel's empire expanded across the globe, stretching from the Americas to Europe and Asia.

Legal experts say prosecutors have a rock-hard case against Guzman.

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Guzman's wealth from drugs was so great that he was on Forbes magazine's list of billionaires but he dropped out in 2013 after spending much of his money on protection. Mexican authorities then recaptured the fugitive in January 2016.

Guzman was born in 1957 in the Mexican town Badiraguato - where several drugs lords operated. He was serving a 20-year sentence on drug-trafficking charges in a different prison when he pulled off an intricate escape in 2001.

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

Mr Heroy estimates the trial will cost USA 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. Some of the informants have already been absorbed into the United States witness protection program, given new identities and homes around the country.

Guzman has been held in solitary confinement since Mexico extradited him in January 2017, one day before Donald Trump took office.

Last year, there was a record 29,000 murders in Mexico.

He has complained that his cell is too small and that he is not in good health.

"El Chapo" has twice escaped from Mexican prisons and is considered an extreme flight risk.

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