Potential jurors came face to face Monday with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the notorious Mexican drug lord facing life in prison as the boss of the world's most bloodthirsty cartel - including a Michael Jackson impersonator.
Guzman escaped prison twice in Mexico, once in a laundry basket in 2001 after running the cartel from a cell for seven years.
Potential jurors were quizzed Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, about their attitudes on drug trafficking and how much attention they've paid to news reports about Guzman.
Jury selection will be conducted in security conditions reserved only for the most risky defendants.
Judge Cogan also raised concerns at the hearing about the prosecutors' planned case at the hearing. The charges he now faces can earn him a lifelong prison sentence.
Authorities say he maintained his grip on the Sinaloa Cartel.
They were also questioned in Brooklyn's federal court about their views on the legalization of marijuana, their fluency in Spanish and their feelings toward both law enforcement and co-operating witnesses.
U.S. prosecutors say that as the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman directed the global trafficking of multi-ton shipments of drugs, including heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine.
Identities of the 12 selected jurors and six alternates will remain anonymous and they will be escorted to and from the courthouse every day by armed U.S. marshals.
The Sinaloa cartel that Guzman founded in 1989 is still hugely powerful and his co-defendant Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada remains at large.
But that could create a logistical nightmare during the trial, and there is speculation that "El Chapo" is being held in a cell deep within the Brooklyn courthouse.
Last year, Mexico witnessed a record 29,000 murders. Prosecutors say the Sinaloa Cartel, named for Guzman's home state, smuggled more than 200 tons of cocaine into the United States.
Guzman was extradited to the United States in January 2017 on an indictment that detailed his alleged reign over a merciless trafficking organization controlled through murder and torture. Others are already in jail, housed in special wings to protect them from reprisals. Instead, she has attended nearly all his pretrial hearings, waving and blowing him kisses from the gallery.
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted to a helicopter in handcuffs by Mexican navy marines at a navy hanger in Mexico City in 2014. Guzman was re-captured in January 2016 after a visit from Hollywood actor Sean Penn and a Mexican actress, who wanted to make a film about his life, allowed Mexican authorities to trace his whereabouts.