Jury Deliberations Set to Begin for Mexican Cartel Boss 'El Chapo'

Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera seen here after his capture in 2014 is on trial in New YorkMore

Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera seen here after his capture in 2014 is on trial in New YorkMore

Yet with deliberations in the high-profile drug trafficking case underway, having starting Monday, and a verdict expected by the end of the week, the jurors are more likely to face a new threat - not from sicarios or paparazzi, as many might have feared, but from post-traumatic stress disorder.

After almost three months of testimony about a vast drug-smuggling conspiracy steeped in violence, the jury began deliberations on Monday and ended their first day of deliberations without a verdict.

Prosecutors said he trafficked tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine into the United States over more than two decades, consolidating his power in Mexico through murders and wars with rival cartels.

The judge questioned both jurors behind closed doors before allowing them to remain on the jury.

Through them, jurors heard how the Sinaloa Cartel gained power amid the shifting allegiances of the Mexican drug trade in the 1990s, eventually coming to control nearly the entire Pacific coast of Mexico.

In closing arguments last week, US prosecutor Andrea Goldbarg said Guzman was plotting yet another prison breakout when he was sent in 2017 to the USA, where he's been held in solitary confinement ever since. "In front of you". Defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman called the prosecution case a "fantasy" and urged the jury not to believe cooperators who "lie, steal, cheat, deal drugs and kill people".

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Guzman escaped from a Mexican prison in 2015, through a mile-long tunnel dug straight into his cell. His wife, Emma Coronel, showed up to court after lunch. She stayed stoic when her husband's alleged mistress testified he once escaped through a bathtub to elude Mexican police - and got away through a sewer system. The DEA also worked with four wiretaps, where El Chapo buried himself with his own words.

Longtime associate Alex Cifuentes told authorities a woman would send Guzman photos of young girls to choose from, with a fee of US$5,000 (RM20,482) per girl.

The court documents had originally been sealed after it was ruled they were "unrelated" to the drugs charges.

The infamous drugs lord "denies the allegations, which lack any corroboration and were deemed too prejudicial and unreliable to be admitted at trial", Eduardo Balarezo said in a statement.

The unsealing of the documents about the sex claims involving minors came at the request of The New York Times and Vice News.

The jury deliberations will resume Tuesday morning.

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