Emma Coronel Aispurol Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman wife arrested. Sinaloa drug cartel boss wife charged w/ international drug trafficking.
The beauty-queen wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, leader of Mexico’s infamous Sinaloa drug cartel was arrested on Monday on international trafficking charges, federal prosecutors said.
In a statement released on Monday, the justice department said that Emma Coronel Aispurol – who is a joint US-Mexican citizen – was arrested at Virginia‘s Dulles international airport and was scheduled to make her initial appearance in federal court on Tuesday via video conference.
She was also charged with allegedly conspiring to help arrange Guzmán’s escape through a mile-long tunnel from the high-security Altiplano prison in Mexico in July 2015. She is also suspected of plotting another escape before Guzman’s 2017 extradition to the U.S.
Coronel, who wed Guzman in 2007, was a fixture at his high-profile Brooklyn trial two years ago. He was sentenced to life in prison in July 2019.
The Sinaloa cartel is alleged to be responsible for smuggling vast quantities of cocaine and other drugs into the United States during ‘El Chapo’s’ 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.
Between 2012 and 2014, while Guzman was hiding out from Mexican authorities, Coronel allegedly ‘relayed messages’ on his behalf ‘in furtherance of drug trafficking activities,’ according to an arrest affidavit.
When the drug lord was arrested in Mexico in February 2014, she allegedly continued to deliver messages she got from him during prison visits.
She also assisted in two plots to help Guzman escape from Mexican jails — including his infamous 2015 jailbreak through an underground tunnel, the feds allege.
There were suggestions during Guzman’s trial that his wife was involved in cartel activities and had helped with his escape.
Emma Coronel was born in Santa Clara, California – a US citizen – and is the daughter of Ines Coronel Barreras, a medium-ranking lieutenant in the Sinaloa cartel.
‘The timing of this arrest is interesting,’
She grew up in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Mexico’s Sierra Madre, and reportedly met Guzmán at a local festival. She was 17 at the time, and Guzmán was 51.
The couple have nine-year-old twin daughters.
‘The timing of this arrest is interesting,’ said Falko Ernest, senior Mexico analyst at the International Crisis Group. ‘In part, this appears to send a message from the US, which says that their traditional tools of arresting high level actors and trying them in the US is not yet a thing of the past yet – even after Cienfuegos’.
General Salvado Cienfuegos, Mexico’s former defense secretary was arrested upon landing in Los Angeles last October and accused of protecting a drug cartel. Of note, Mexican prosecutors recently declined to pursue charges against the former government official, with Mexico authorities accusing the United States of acting without their knowledge and failing to act like an ally.
While El Chapo kept a low profile despite his fame – his wife sought the spotlight. She launched a line of clothing – with some of the items emblazoned with El Chapo’s familiar moustachioed face – and attempted to establish herself up as a social media influencer with a carefully curated Instagram feed. She even briefly appeared on a US reality TV show.
‘Bragging can be dangerous and time and again those exposing themselves too much and too publicly make themselves targets,’ Ernst said.