El Chapo’s wife pleads guilty to drugs charges

Emma Coronel Aispuro admitted conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine for several years.

El Chapos Wife
El Chapos Wife

The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has pleaded guilty to charges in the US and admitted that she helped her husband run his multibillion-dollar criminal empire.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, wearing a green jail uniform, appeared in federal court in Washington and pleaded guilty to three offences as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

The charges include knowingly and wilfully conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine for several years.

She also pleaded guilty to a money-laundering conspiracy charge and to engaging in transactions with a foreign narcotics trafficker.

El Chapos Wife
Emma Coronel Aispuro, centre, is the wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman (Mark Lennihan/AP)

The 31-year-old was arrested in February at Dulles International Airport in Virginia and has been in jail since then.

Prosecutors have alleged Coronel Aispuro “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 US.

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.

The prosecutor, Anthony Nardozzi, said his wife had “aided and abetted” the Sinaloa cartel’s objectives to smuggle drugs into the US and helped to import more than 450,000 kilograms of cocaine, 90,000 kilograms of heroin, 45,000 kilograms of methamphetamine and about 90,000 kilograms of marijuana.

Her arrest earlier this year was a surprise in part because authorities had 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.

Mr Nardozzi said Coronel Aispuro “served as a go-between” to deliver messages to cartel members after her husband was arrested and also conspired with Guzman’s sons to “plan and coordinate” his prison escapes.

Coronel Aispuro listened quietly as prosecutors described how they could prove her illegal activity if she chose to go to trial.

“Yes,” she said through a translator, when asked by the judge if she had committed the crimes the government described.

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