Drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is made to face the media in Mexico City as he is escorted by Mexican soldiers following his recapture six months after escaping from a maximum security prison in 2016. File picture: Eduardo Verdugo/AP

New York - Mexican drug boss Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman will not be allowed to hug his wife when he appears in court next week for the start of his trial, a New York judge ruled on Thursday.

The 61-year-old former head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, once the main supplier of drugs to the US, is facing 17 criminal charges, including drug trafficking, conspiracy and running a criminal organization.

Guzman asked for permission to greet and embrace his wife, former beauty queen Emma Coronel, before opening statements begin on Tuesday.

Judge Brian Cogan said he was sympathetic to the request, but could not grant Guzman the hug as it would contravene security measures, according to court documents filed on Thursday.

The judge cited previous orders limiting Guzman's communication to prevent him from coordinating an escape from prison or an attack on witnesses in the trial.

The Department of Homeland Security has personnel in place in front of the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse for the start of jury selection in the trial of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in New York. Picture: Mark Lennihan/AP

Guzman has been in solitary confinement in a high-security Manhattan prison for almost two years, ever since Mexican authorities arrested him in January 2016.

He has escaped from Mexican prisons twice, once reportedly in a laundry basket and once in a spectacular jailbreak through a tunnel that accomplices had dug to his cell.

The judge has also ruled that all jurors remain anonymous to ensure their safety during the trial, which is expected to last several months.

If found guilty, Guzman could be handed a life sentence. US prosecutors have ruled out seeking the death penalty for Guzman as a condition of his extradition from Mexico.

dpa