Miami Under Consideration As El Chapo Trial Venue

Posted on Jan 26, 2016 in Blog Entry: Criminal Cases, Blog Entry: Elections and Courts, Blog Entry: Spinning the Law

Miami Under Consideration As El Chapo Trial Venue

Miami, Florida is one of two U.S. cities under serious discussion for being the location of the trial of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Mexican cartel kingpin.

Federal prosecutors in six states have filed indictments against Guzman, but the Eastern District of New York and the Southern District of Florida have overlapping cases that could be combined. Therefore, headquarter sites in Brooklyn and Miami have emerged as the leading contenders for the locations of the sensational and widely anticipated trial.

“The Southern District of Florida’s extraordinary record with respect to major narcotics trafficking cases could be an important factor,” Kendall Coffey told McClatchy news service. “It’s a history-making case that, if successful, could deal a huge blow to today’s most violent drug trafficker. This case will define careers for prosecutors, (drug) agents, and even the trial judge.”

Guzman was captured in the Pacific coastal town of Los Mochis, Mexico, seven months after he escaped from a high security Mexican prison through a sophisticated tunnel that experts project may have cost more than $1 million to dig.

The indictments against Guzman

The overlapping indictments in Brooklyn and Miami accuse El Chapo of multiple counts of drug trafficking and money-laundering. Unfortunately for Miami, an early look reveals that Brooklyn may have the inside track, as federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have also accused Guzman of 13 murders, assassinations, or attempted killings of Mexican police, soldiers, and rival gang members. These accusations may very well tip the scales in Brooklyn’s favor.

Defense by playing “Donald Trump card”

Guzman’s lawyers have attempted to fight extradition to the U.S. in general, notably using a defense that comes down to “because Donald Trump.” Guzman’s lawyers argue that there is anti-Mexican sentiment in the U.S. and that that sentiment would not allow for a fair trial. Donald Trump is cited as an example of the anti-Mexican sentiment that is persistent throughout the country.

We are interested to see how the entire trial process turns out—stay tuned!