Mugshots showing Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera aka El Chapo.

US State Department handout via State Department-USA TODAY NETWORK

Federal fortress: Juror escorts, armed guards for NYC 'El Chapo' trial

November 05, 2018 - 2:50 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The federal courthouse in Brooklyn looked more like a federal fortress, with steel barricades and armed U.S. Marshals and NYPD officers ahead of the trial for accused Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. 

Guzman, 61, has quite the rap. The feds say he ran a multibillion-dollar cocaine cartel and murdered anyone who was bad for business. 

The judge overseeing the case, not wanting the jurors to be harmed, has decided to keep their identities secret. They’re also getting escorts to and from court.

Guzman, who tunneled his way out of Mexican prisons twice, is being held in “the hole,” solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. 

Military-style caravans that carried Guzman across the Brooklyn Bridge from the jail in lower Manhattan during pretrial hearings made the normally slow moving morning traffic even slower.

So there’s speculation the accused narcoterrorist will be held in a very secure basement cell at the courthouse in Brooklyn.

Many of the 20 prospective jurors said they had heard of El Chapo, and one said she knew of the Sean Penn interview. One woman was dismissed because in her questionnaire, and in questioning by the judge, she said 'drugs are bad.'

The jury questionnaire is 41 pages long and includes all kinds of subject matter for prospective jurors -- how they feel about sitting on a jury in a case involving a drug cartel, if anyone has a family member dealing with drug abuse, and if police credibility is an issue for them.

Jurors have been told they cannot Google the case, post on social media, or read anything about it.

Opening statements are expected on Nov. 13. The trial could last months.