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Almost a decade after a Brooklyn grand jury handed down the first of many indictments against him, jury selection will finally begin Monday for notorious cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera. According to the indictment, the Sinaloa cartel, which Guzman is accused of leading from 1989 to 2014, became "the largest drug trafficking organization in the world. with thousands of members".

An anonymous pool of potential jurors - gleaned from 1,000 New Yorkers who were sent a 31-page questionnaire - will arrive in Brooklyn federal court, where they will lay eyes on the runty drug baron himself as they are probed as potential panelists at Guzman Loera's trial on drug-conspiracy charges. Natasha Hussain has the details.

U.S. prosecutors have spent years piecing together a case that they hope will end with the 61-year-old spending the rest of his life in a maximum-security United States prison.

Prosecutors say Guzman's operation earned more than $14 billion.

Mr Heroy estimates the trial will cost U.S. 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 them are being held in special jail units, while others are in witness protection programs.

Prosecutors say Guzman was in the habit of ordering the killings of anyone who got in his way during his heyday in Mexico as boss of the Sinaloa cartel.

The Sinaloa cartel that Guzman founded in 1989 is still hugely powerful and his co-defendant Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada remains at large.

The ruthless reputation of the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo has sparked security concerns at his upcoming US trial. In 2016, an average of 174 Americans died every day from drug overdoses.

The only visitors he is allowed are his three lawyers and twin seven-year-old daughters - the judge banned his 29-year-old beauty queen wife, Emma Coronel, from visiting.

Judge Brian Cogan has taken the extraordinary step of holding the trial behind closed doors. Some mentioned they were aware he had escaped from prison in Mexico, and others recalled how he did an interview with actor Sean Penn while he was on the run.

Pretrial hearings held in early October forced law enforcement officials to close the Brooklyn Bridge up to twice a day as they transported Guzman to and from the courthouse located near the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood and his high-security residence.

Mexican authorities captured Guzman and an associate in January 2016 fleeing a raid on a house where he had been staying in northwest Mexico.

Re-arrested in February 2014, he escaped again 14 months later. This time, Mexico chose to wash their hands and put him on a plane.


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