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Joaquin Guzman's defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman speaks to reporters as he leaves Brooklyn Federal court after opening arguments in the trial of the Mexican drug lord known as "El Chapo", Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in NY.
According to the indictment, Guzman, whose nickname means "Shorty", is responsible for ordering thousands of murders during the years his Sinaloa Cartel funneled 200 metric tons of cocaine as well as other drugs into the United States, pulling in $14 billion (€12.3 billion). "He controlled Sicarios [hitmen] and ordered them to kill, and sometimes he did the killings himself", Fels said.
Hope said he has seen no sign that Guzman's extradition and jailing in the USA had a major impact on drug flows or routes. Before his tunnels, it had taken weeks to move drugs across the border to the U.S.
"He played a critical role in the supply chain", Fels continued.
Among the highlights of his lore: how he was known for carrying a gold-plated AK-47; for smuggling cocaine in cans marked as jalapenos; for making shipments using planes with secret landing strips, container ships, speedboats and even submarines. He sent his killers to wipe out his rivals and he used sophisticated methods of communications including encrypted cell phones and apps, prosecutors said.
"The US government pretends to want him".More news: James Corden Totally Shreds Trumpy - The Bear And The Man
"You'll have the chance to read his text messages, evidence of drug deals, killings, corruption", Fels said.
Prosecutors say they risk retribution by taking the stand and the court has taken steps to hide their identities.
The seven women and five men will determine whether Guzman is guilty on 11 trafficking, firearms and money laundering charges during what is expected to be a more than four-month trial.
In 2009, Forbes Magazine put him on its list of the world's richest people, with an estimated US$1-billion fortune but investigators say it is impossible to know exactly how much he was worth.
"Imagine a group of witnesses who have lied every day of their lives. The truth is, he was the leader of nothing", Lichtman said.
"Why is the government going so far in this case using these gutter human beings as the evidence?" he asked.
He said the case will show that "government officials at the highest levels can be bribed and American law enforcement officials can be corrupt".More news: Brewers slugger Christian Yelich named National League MVP
The 61-year-old is considered the world's largest drug trafficker since the death of Colombia's Pablo Escobar.
"Why is he public enemy #1?"
"Why does the Mexican government need a scapegoat?" "They framed him for murder and that was the beginning of the mythological status and his myth grew". "Yet, he's blamed for being the leader".
The start of El Chapo's long-awaited trial was thrown into chaos Tuesday thanks to an "anxious and upset" juror who brought a doctor's note to court to help get her booted off the case. The trial is expected to last into next year.
In the courtroom for the proceedings was Guzman's former beauty queen wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro.
Presiding District Judge Brian Cogan called the case at the Eastern District of NY federal court "unprecedented". He stood and waved to her with a beaming smile.
Guzman, one of the world's most notorious criminals, is on trial in NY after twice escaping from prison in Mexico.More news: U.S. assessing extraditing FETO leader to Turkey