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El Chapo's legal team arrives at court

2018-11-13 16:51
The trial of accused Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman will begin with lawyers' opening statements in a federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday (November 13), amid intense public attention and extraordinary security measures. Journalists surrounded members of the drug lord's legal team, Jeffery Lichtman and Eduardo Balarezo, as they walked towards the courthouse ahead of the start of the trial. Federal prosecutors say that as leader of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman, 61, directed massive shipments of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine bound for the United States. He faces 17 criminal counts and a potential life sentence if convicted. As well as smuggling drugs to the United States, the Sinaloa Cartel has played a major role in narco violence between rival gangs that has torn areas of Mexico apart and defied successive governments. Guzman's lawyers have signalled that they intend to downplay their client's role in the cartel and argue that the prosecutors' witnesses are motivated by self interest and not believable. Guzman, who twice dramatically escaped from Mexican maximum security prisons, has been kept in solitary confinement in Manhattan and transported to court in Brooklyn in a heavily guarded motorcade. More than 200,000 people have been killed - many in cartel feuds - since the Mexican government sent troops in to take on the drug gangs in 2006.