Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of the famous Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo, is expected to plead guilty this week to helping her husband run his multibillion dollar empire, and then, after one of his arrests, dramatically escaping a Mexican high-security prison, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Ms Coronel, 31, is scheduled to appear in Washington Federal District Court Thursday morning to enter her plea. She was arrested in February at Dulles International Airport, near Washington, after a nearly two-year investigation by US law enforcement into her role as an accomplice to her husband, real name Joaquín Guzmán Loera.
Mr Guzmán, a former co-leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, was convicted in 2019 in a federal trial in Brooklyn and is currently serving a life sentence in Colorado’s so-called Supermax prison. safest federal government in the United States. Ms Coronel, his third – or possibly fourth – wife, had remained free even after a jury found her guilty, traveling between the United States and Mexico until her own arrest.
When taken into FBI custody, there was intense speculation as to whether Ms. Coronel, a dual Mexican-American citizen, would seek to offer the government information on allies, relatives and partners. commercials from her husband in exchange for a lighter sentence. But his plea deal with Washington prosecutors does not require him to cooperate with US authorities, the person familiar with the matter said.
It is unusual for law enforcement to prey on the spouses of drug lords, but the case of Ms Coronel, a former beauty queen whose family has a history of drug trafficking, is atypical.
Prosecutors at her husband’s trial provided substantial evidence that she – like many of her mistresses – was deeply involved in his criminal activities, often helping her send messages to her own father, Inés Coronel Barreras, who had been one of Mr. Guzmán’s main lieutenants before. his arrest in Mexico in 2013.
Other messages introduced during the trial showed Ms Coronel was intimately involved in helping Mr Guzmán escape capture by US and Mexican authorities after a botched 2012 raid on the Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas. In some of the messages, Mr Guzmán wrote to him describing how he escaped from his seaside villa just in time as the raid party walked through the door of a nearby house.
Ms Coronel also helped help her escape from the Altiplano high-security prison near Toluca, Mexico, in 2015, after a coalition of U.S. and Mexican law enforcement and military personnel had found him the year before in a beach hotel in Mazatlán. Prosecutors say Ms Coronel, using her visiting privileges, acted as an emissary between her husband and a team of conspirators, including her own brother, who planned the escape by building a nearly mile-long tunnel long in the shower of his cell.
In 2016, after Mr. Guzmán was picked up and returned to the Altiplano, Ms. Coronel sought to help him escape again, hatching a plot to bribe Mexico’s top prison official, according to testimony at trial. Before the plan could be executed, however, Mr. Guzmán was extradited to the United States.
On the original conspiracy count she was charged with, Ms Coronel faced 10 years in life. But by virtue of her deal with the government, the person familiar with her case said, she will be named as a “minimal participant” in the conspiracy and will likely be sentenced to much less time.