Wife of El Chapo to plead guilty to running drug empire, reports say

<p>Emma Coronel Aispuro, arrives at the US Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn for the 2019 trial of husband ‘El Chapo'</p> (AFP/Getty Images)

Emma Coronel Aispuro, arrives at the US Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn for the 2019 trial of husband ‘El Chapo'

(AFP/Getty Images)
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Emma Coronel Aispuro is expected to plead guilty to charges of running the sprawling drug empire of husband El Chapo, according to reports.

Ms Coronel, 32, will appear in a Federal District Court in Washington on Thursday to enter the plea, The New York Times reported.

The US-born beauty queen is facing international drug trafficking charges for allegedly participating in a conspiracy to distribute drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the US.

She’s also accused of helping plot her husband’s 2015 escape from a prison in Mexico, as well as helping plan another jailbreak once he was recaptured in 2016.

Quoting a person familiar with the case, the Times reported the plea deal did not require Ms Aispuro to flip on the allies, relatives or business partners of her husband, Joaquín Guzmán Loera.

In return for pleading guilty, she will be designated a “minimal participant” and receive a lighter sentence than the maximum of 10 years to life in prison for the initial conspiracy indictment.

When Ms Aispuro was arrested in February, the Justice Department indictment gave a rare glimpse into how the dual US-Mexico citizen entered the world of Guzman.

Guzman was the leader of the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel before he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2019. After sitting through the 11-week trial in Brooklyn, Ms Aispuro emerged into a life of glamour and excess while her husband remained locked up in a Colorado Supermax prison.

She appeared on VH1’s reality show Cartel Crew and had planned on starting a clothing line named after El Chapo.

Despite Guzman’s life sentence, the US Drug Enforcement Administration threat assessment said in March that “the Sinaloa Cartel maintains the widest national influence” in the United States.

The indictment against Ms Aispuro says she grew up with knowledge of the narcotics trafficking industry and understood the scope of the cartel’s operation, given her father had a “historical friendship” with Guzman.

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