El Chapo trial starts, Paradise wildfire survivor, 7-Eleven and ICE

Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán following his extradition to the United States from Mexico in January 2017

Drug baron Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, one of the world's most notorious criminals, is on trial in NY after twice escaping from prison in Mexico.

Tuesday's opening statements were delayed for hours after two jurors were dismissed from the lineup, forcing lawyers and the judge to re-interview potential candidates before the full panel could be sworn in.

El Chapo is standing trial for smuggling drugs to the USA and his role in narco-violence between rival gangs that has torn areas of Mexico apart and defied successive governments.

He is accused of leading the Sinaloa cartel, turning it into the world's largest criminal group and of smuggling enough cocaine "for 328 million lines" - equivalent to more than one per every person in the United States.

Lichtman claimed Guzman, 61, "controlled nothing" and it was Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, who is still at large, in charge of the drug operation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Fels told a jury inside a highly secured Brooklyn federal courthouse Tuesday they'll hear defendant Joaquin Guzman (wah-KEEN' gooz-MAHN') in his own words.

Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon and a spokesman for current President Enrique Pena Nieto vehemently deny the defense's claims.

Guzman's trial began last week in NY with a jury selection that ultimately proved to be problematic.

Guzman's lawyers sought in opening remarks Tuesday to prove their client did not, in fact, run the Sinaloa Cartel, but took orders from someone else. "The corrupt Mexican government needed a scapegoat", Lichtman maintained.

Two presidents of Mexico are denying a USA lawyer's claim they took bribes to protect drug traffickers.

Guzman's attorney told jurors it would have been impossible for him to be in charge of the cartel since he was either in jail or hiding out in the Mexican countryside during the entire time USA prosecutors claim he was the leader.


"Money, drugs, murder; a vast global narcotics trafficking organisation".

One of the jurors was excused shortly before opening statements were set to begin.

He has pleaded not guilty, but the government has presented so much evidence - more than 300,000 pages and at least 117,000 recordings - that the defense complains they haven't had time to review it all.

Some of the cooperators will "tell you he has no money", Lichtman said.

"He was indeed the boss of his organization".

More than a dozen of those who are expected to testify are in witness protection programs or already in jail. They seek to discredit witnesses based on their own criminal records.

But Guzman is perhaps best known for escaping custody in Mexico, the first time in 2001 - according to a government statement at the time, by hiding in the bottom of a laundry bin.

"Why are they willing to infect this country with these degenerates?" He said a Guzman conviction would be the "biggest prize" for prosecutors. "He's a mythical figure".

Guzman, one of the world's most notorious criminals, is on trial in NY after twice escaping from prison in Mexico.

Before long, Guzman was receiving 10 to 15 planes "stuffed with cocaine" from Colombia at landing strips in Mexico for transport to cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, Fels said.

The defendant is banned from communicating with or having any physical contact with the 29-year-old mother of his seven-year-old twin girls.

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