(FOX NEWS) – He’s been called everything from the Usama bin Laden of the drug cartel world to the most “ruthless, dangerous, and feared man on the planet.”
But starting Tuesday, 61-year-old Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera – better known as “El Chapo,” or “shorty” in Spanish slang – will finally face a court of law, accused of running the infamous Sinaloa drug cartel, generally regarded as the world’s largest.
U.S. law enforcement sources connected to Guzmán told Fox News the accused drug lord is generally very quiet and well-behaved in custody, and keeps almost entirely to himself behind bars.
But officials also say he’s not talking, and has refused to cooperate with any type of intelligence sharing or plea agreement – even with the caveat of long-term protection for his 29-year-old beauty queen wife, and twin seven-year-old daughters.
Guzman’s lawyer Eduardo Balarezo confirmed to Fox News there “have been no plea negotiations, no plea offers – and there will be no plea.” He added that since his arrest, Guzmán has firmly insisted he wants his “day in court.”
Balazero didn’t reveal his defense strategy for the trial. But he has in the past contended potential prosecution witnesses should not be trusted. He has also suggested Guzman was merely a “middle manager” in massive cartel he’s accused of ruthlessly running.
Some government officials connected to the case contend Guzmán is arrogant enough to think the legal system can be manipulated here, in the same way he was able to manipulate corrupt tiers of the Mexican government.
“When he first arrived in the United States, he was shell-shocked it had finally happened,” said one U.S.-based law enforcement source. “But now, he is a lot more comfortable, knows how to play the game.”
The trial is expected to cost upwards of $50 million, and one U.S. official well-versed in the case told Fox News it will likely go longer than the already anticipated four months, given the encroachment of the holiday season and the litany of breaks in the court schedule.