Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, has been arrested in Virginia on drug trafficking charges, the US Justice Department said.
In a statement released on Monday, the justice department said that Coronel, 31 – who is a joint US-Mexican citizen – was arrested at Dulles International Airport and was scheduled to make her initial appearance in federal court on Tuesday via video conference.
According to court documents, Coronel is charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana for importation into the US.
She has also been charged with allegedly conspiring to help arrange Guzmán’s spectacular escape through a mile-long tunnel from the high-security Altiplano prison in Mexico in July 2015.
“After Guzman was re-arrested in Mexico in January 2016, Coronel Aispuro is alleged to have engaged in planning yet another prison escape with others prior to Guzman’s extradition to the US in January 2017,” the statement said.
Guzmán was sentenced to life plus thirty years at his trial in New York in 2019.
His Sinaloa cartel was responsible for smuggling mountains of cocaine and other drugs into the United States during his 25-year reign, prosecutors said in recent court papers. They also said his “army” was under orders to kidnap, torture and murder anyone who got in his way.
Throughout his trial, Coronel attended court every day. Before her husband’s life sentence, she told a sympathetic Mexican TV interviewer that Guzmán was a “humble” man and complained that the media had made El Chapo “too famous”.
At one point, Coronel was censured by prosecutors for having a forbidden cell phone in the courtroom vicinity, and what court documents call “unauthorized” and “impermissible contact” with Guzmán.
Emma Coronel was born in Santa Clara, California and is the daughter of Ines Coronel Barreras, a medium-ranking lieutenant in the Sinaloa cartel. She grew up in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of the Sierra Madre, and met Guzmán at a dance.
More details follow …