WASHINGTON (AP) — The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is expected to plead guilty to federal criminal charges after she had been charged in the U.S. with helping her husband run his multibillion-dollar criminal empire.
Emma Coronel Aispuro is due in court Thursday in Washington for a plea agreement hearing, according to court records. She had previously pleaded not guilty after being charged in a single-count criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the U.S.
She was arrested in February at Dulles International Airport in Virginia.
Prosecutors have alleged Coronel “worked closely with the command-and-control structure” of the Sinaloa cartel and conspired to distribute large quantities of drugs, knowing they would be smuggled into the U.S.
Her arrest was a surprise in part because authorities made no move to arrest her over the past two years, even after she was implicated in her husband’s crimes. During Guzman’s trial in 2019, prosecutors said she helped orchestrate Guzman’s two prison breaks in Mexico.
As Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Guzman ran a cartel responsible for smuggling cocaine and other drugs into the United States during his 25-year reign, prosecutors say. They also said his “army of sicarios,” or “hit men,” was under orders to kidnap, torture and kill anyone who got in his way.