NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Opening statements are set to start Tuesday in the high-profile trial of alleged Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
He is expected to be kept in Brooklyn during the week. Each time he is transported back to a Manhattan correctional facility, he will be escorted by a highly secure motorcade. That involves shutting down part of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Heavily armed officers and plainclothes surveillance teams will also be stationed outside the courthouse.
“Any major high-threat trial, any high-value target – whether it be organized crime, terrorism, drug traffickers – New York is the premiere place to have these trials, these high security trials,” said John Cuff, a retired chief with the U.S. marshal service.
Guzman has pleaded not guilty to 17 charges, including drug smuggling, money laundering and conspiring to murder.
Given the history of violence by him and his associates, jurors will receive special security, as well. The judge has ordered they remain anonymous and partially sequestered. They will also be transported to and from the courthouse by armed federal marshals.
“The United States Marshals Service is very used to these kinds of proceedings. There have been many with anonymized jurors and the security is intense,” criminal defense attorney Gerald Lefcourt said.
The trial is expected to last about four months. In the meantime, he’s being held in solitary confinement.