'El Chapo' wife Coronel held in detention ahead of drug trial

Emma Coronel Aispuro, wife of convicted Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, was arrested by US authorities on drug trafficking charges
·2 min read

The wife of jailed Mexican narcotics king Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was ordered held in detention by a Washington judge Tuesday after her arrest for drug trafficking.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, faces a minimum of 10 years and maximum of life in prison on US charges that she took part in the notorious Sinaloa cartel boss's narcotics operations, said federal district judge Robin Meriweather.

Coronel, a dual US-Mexican citizen, was arrested Monday at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, two years after her husband was convicted in New York for masterminding a murderous drug operation that shipped tons of cocaine, heroin, and other drugs into the United States over 25 years.

While Coronel attended his three-month trial almost daily, she was never threatened with prosecution herself, despite witness hints of her involvement with his business.

She now faces one charge of conspiracy to traffic cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana for importation into the United States, and one additional charge of aiding and abetting a crime.

In a court filing an FBI investigator said evidence from a cooperating witness and another trafficker showed Coronel knowingly using drug proceeds to help her husband while he was in prison.

In addition, the filing said, "From 2012 to 2014, Coronel relayed messages on behalf of Guzman in furtherance of drug trafficking activities while Guzman attempted to avoid capture by Mexican authorities."

"Once Guzman was arrested in February 2014, Coronel continued to deliver messages she received from Guzman during her prison visits."

The filing also said Coronel took part in two Mexican prison escape plots -- the first one successful -- by her husband.

Guzman was extradited to the United States in 2017 to stand trial, and was convicted and sentenced to life in prison two years later.

Coronel, the mother of twin daughters by her now 63-year-old husband, will plead innocent to the charges, her lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman -- who also represented Guzman -- told AFP.

He told the court Tuesday that he plans to submit a request for her release on bail.

pmh/st