EL Chapo trial jury selection begins in Brooklyn

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Potential jurors came face to face Monday with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the notorious Mexican drug lord facing life in prison as the boss of the world's most bloodthirsty cartel - including a Michael Jackson impersonator.

Guzman was captured in Mexico in 2016 and extradited to the United States to stand trial.

As CBS2's Janelle Burrell reported Monday, security will be tight for both Guzman and the potential jurors.

Jury selection will take place amid tight security conditions reserved only for the most unsafe defendants.

The marathon Brooklyn federal trial, which will cost millions of dollars and is expected to last more than four months, will see Guzman face the US justice system after twice escaping prison in Mexico, once hidden in a laundry cart and then slipping down a tunnel that reached his prison shower.

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He's been held in solitary confinement in a high-security federal cell at the Manhattan Correctional Center since January 2017, when Mexico agreed to allow his extradition to the United States for trial.

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

Jurors selected for the trial will be escorted by federal guards to and from the courthouse, officials said.

Guzman has pleaded not guilty to charges that his Sinaloa cartel smuggled tons of cocaine and other drugs, laundered billions of dollars and oversaw a ruthless campaign of murders and kidnappings.

The judge also agreed with prosecutors that the jury for the case should be kept anonymous, a measure typical in terrorism or mob cases where jury intimidation is a concern.

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Prosecutors describe Guzman as one of the most unsafe and feared drug kingpins, who between 1989 and 2014 ran the world's largest drug trafficking organization.

El Chapo made world headlines in July 2015 when he slipped out of his cell at the maximum security Altiplano federal prison via a mile-long underground tunnel.

Guzman was extradited to the United States in January 2017 on an indictment that detailed his alleged reign over a merciless trafficking organization controlled through murder and torture. The judge has banned his 29-year-old beauty queen wife, Emma Coronel, from visiting.

"El Chapo" has twice escaped from Mexican prisons and is considered an extreme flight risk. Re-arrested by Mexican marines in February 2014, he escaped again 14 months later.

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