NEW YORK, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- The long-awaited trial of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman began here on Tuesday, increasing traffic congestion in the already-crowded cosmopolitan.
Guzman, the man behind the world's largest drug trafficking organization Sinaloa cartel, was put on trial in a federal courthouse in New York City's borough of Brooklyn.
The 61-year-old was charged with 17 criminal counts including drug trafficking, money laundering and conspiring to murder in the past three decades. He faces a potential life sentence if convicted.
The Sinaloa cartel has trafficked a large amount of heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine from Mexico into the United States over the years, according to federal prosecutors.
Opening statements scheduled for Tuesday morning were delayed until the afternoon, as two jurors were dismissed due to personal reasons and replaced, according to local media.
In order to transport Guzman from Manhattan to Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Bridge, a city landmark as well as a vital traffic connection between Manhattan and Brooklyn, was shut down early Tuesday morning, leading to a nightmare for those who often drive to work across the bridge.
The trial is expected to last up to four months, during which the Brooklyn Bridge will be forced to close twice a day as Guzman is transported under heavy security through the two boroughs, local media reported.
Unlike other criminals who stay near the courthouse in which they stand trial, Guzman has been held in solitary confinement in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan since his extradition to the United States in January 2017.
The drug lord has successfully escaped from prison twice in Mexico in 301 and 2015. The Manhattan facility is considered among the most secure in the United States.