The stage is set for the trial of Joaquín Guzmán Loera. Better known as “El Chapo,” Guzmán is accused of leading Mexico’s notorious Sinaloa drug cartel.
A judge has decided Guzmán’s trial will start in April 2018. He’ll be tried in the United States since authorities were able to extradite him from Mexico.
Guzmán is facing 17 charges dating back to the 1980s, including international conspiracy to manufacture and distribute narcotics, money laundering, and illegal use of weapons. He pleaded not guilty.
The Department of Justice also wants Guzmán to forfeit the estimated $14 billion in profits it says the cartel made under his leadership.
But that could be tricky. A Mexican official said U.S. authorities haven’t been able to find any of Guzmán’s money.
The judge also denied a request to let Guzmán out of solitary confinement before the trial. He cited Guzmán’s two prison escapes in Mexico, including one using a tunnel underneath his cell.