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El Chapo's wife arrested on drug trafficking charge; detained without bail
    #27223150 - 02/24/21 02:05 AM (3 months, 21 days ago)

El Chapo's wife arrested on drug trafficking charge; detained without bail
MSN - February 23, 2021

The wife of convicted Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera was arrested at a suburban Washington, D.C. airport Monday, for her alleged role in the distribution of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and marijuana.

A judge on Tuesday ordered the family's latest defendant, Emma Coronel Aispuro, to remain in custody as her attorneys consider a bail application. But prosecutors told the judge she poses a substantial flight risk and should not be released before trial.

Coronel, 31, a dual U.S.-Mexican citizen who had been a fixture at her husband's 2018-2019 federal trial in Brooklyn, N.Y., monitored the hearing from a detention center via a Spanish translation.

Guzmán, a leader of Mexico's Sinaloa narcotics cartel, was sentenced to life in prison following his trial.

Coronel is charged in a conspiracy to distribute drugs in the U.S. and is alleged to have assisted in her husband's elaborate 2015 escape from a Mexican prison. She is suspected of plotting another prison escape, which would have been Guzman's third, before his 2017 extradition to the U.S. for trial.

Jeffrey Lichtman, a prominent New York City defense lawyer who was one of Guzman's lawyers during his trial, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather during Tuesday's hearing he represented Coronel and consented to her detention. He said he would consult with prosecutors before proposing a bail package.

However, Anthony Nardozzi, a representative of the U.S. Department of Justice's Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Section, told Meriwether that Coronel had ties to Guzman's Sinaloa drug cartel, access to substantial funds and no direct ties to the Washington, D.C., area.

She poses a "serious risk of flight," he said. "Pretrial detention is justified."

Court records filed Monday made the same argument.

"Coronel grew up with knowledge of the narcotics trafficking industry, and married Guzman when she was a teenager," federal authorities said in court documents. "Coronel understood the scope of the Sinaloa Cartel’s drug trafficking; Coronel knows and understands the Sinaloa Cartel is the most prolific cartel in Mexico."

According to the documents, she also was "aware of multi-ton cocaine shipments, multi-kilo heroin production, multi-ton marijuana shipments, and ton quantity methamphetamine shipments."

"Coronel understood the drug proceeds she controlled during her marriage to Guzman were derived from these shipments," federal authorities said.

Citing statements from a cooperating witness, federal authorities said Coronel participated in the plan to construct an underground tunnel linked to the Mexican prison that aided in her husband's most dramatic escape.

She was implicated directly in her husband’s criminal affairs during his 2018-2019 trial in a Brooklyn federal court.

Damaso Lopez Nuñez, a former Guzmán lieutenant who testified as a government witness in January 2019, told jurors his boss was determined to escape from Mexico's maximum-security Altiplano prison, where he was locked up after a squad of Mexican Marines captured him in February 2014.

In the brazen July 2015 breakout that captured international headlines, Guzmán slipped into a roughly mile-long tunnel that had been secretly excavated beneath the prison. He made his getaway on a motorcycle attached to rails inside the ventilated and lighted passageway.

Testifying through a Spanish translator, Lopez said Coronel began relaying the boss' instructions during a secret meeting that took place around April 2014 in Culiacán, Mexico.

Guzmán was "taking the risk ... and thinking of escaping from prison," Lopez said Guzmán's wife told him, the boss' sons and others during the meeting.

Recounting a follow-up session a month or so later, Lopez testified that Coronel relayed additional instructions from her husband to the plotters: "A tunnel had to be built and they should start to work."

Watching and listening from a courtroom bench at the time, Coronel showed no evident emotion during the testimony as she fidgeted with her nearly waist-length dark hair.

She later declined to comment afterward about Lopez's testimony. Similarly, Brooklyn federal prosecutors at the time declined to discuss why Coronel had not been charged in her husband’s criminal indictment.

Video from WUSA9-TV

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Re: El Chapo's wife arrested on drug trafficking charge; detained without bail [Re: veggie]
    #27225959 - 02/25/21 03:18 PM (3 months, 19 days ago)

Related ...

El Chapo’s wife goes from obscurity to celebrity to arrest
Associated Press - February 25, 2021

CULIACAN, Mexico — Despite her status as the wife of the world’s most notorious drug boss, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Emma Coronel Aispuro lived mostly in obscurity -- until her husband went to prison for life.

Then, suddenly, she was a presence on social media. There was talk of launching a fashion line. Even an appearance on a reality show dedicated to the families of drug traffickers.

Coronel’s actions did not go unnoticed. And in the wake of her arrest Monday on charges that she had conspired to distribute drugs, there were those who wondered: In embracing the limelight, had Coronel put a target on her own back?

Her behavior was notable in part because she had lived a relatively sheltered life until her part in a grueling trial that drew international attention. But her actions violated unwritten rules about family members, especially wives, keeping a low profile.

Until the trial, “Emma had remained anonymous like practically all of partners of Sinaloa cartel capos,” said Adrián López, executive editor of Sinaloa’s Noroeste newspaper. Then, “she begins to take on more of a celebrity attitude. ... This breaks a tradition of secrecy and a style specifically within the leadership of the Sinaloa cartel.”

Late last year, the Mexican investigative journalist Anabel Hernández — who has written extensively about the Sinaloa cartel, including a 2019 book about the diary of cartel leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada’s son — said a source told her that Coronel’s mother, Blanca Aispuro, was worried about the turn her daughter’s life was taking.

Concern was also building among Guzmán’s sons and Sinaloa cartel leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, said Hernández, who was the first journalist to ever interview Emma Coronel.

“Her mother was also worried that an enemy cartel could harm Emma because she was unleashed, was out in the street a lot, the clubs, excessive in her social life,” Hernández said the source told her. “Her mother worried something like that could happen or she could become a target of the government.”


Guzmán has been married numerous times; as was made clear in his trial in New York, he has been far from faithful. Sitting in the courtroom, Coronel heard a woman testify to how she and Guzmán made a dramatic escape from a middle-of-the-night raid on one of his hideouts by Mexican marines.

She described hopping out of bed, locating a secret hatch and running through a drainage tunnel, a naked Guzmán leading the way.

“Sometimes I loved him and sometimes I didn’t,” the woman said, tearfully.

Coronel was there each day smiling, blowing kisses to Guzmán, “but in reality they tell me that Emma was very, very mad and very hurt,” Hernández said. “And so, when the trial ended she decided to take revenge and the way to get revenge was to make her husband see what he was losing.”

Coronel, 31, was born in San Francisco, but grew up in the mountains of Durango bordering Guzmán’s Sinaloa state in an impoverished area known as the Golden Triangle.

She and Guzmán married in 2007 when she 18 years old. He was 50 and one of the world’s most powerful drug traffickers. “I don’t imagine she really had many options to say no, I won’t marry you,” Hernández said.

For a time, Coronel’s father, Ines Coronel Barreras, allegedly took charge of moving the Sinaloa cartel’s marijuana across the border into Arizona. In 2013, he was arrested with one of his sons and other men in a warehouse with guns and hundreds of pounds of marijuana across the border from Douglas, Arizona

For years, Emma Coronel’s only public image was a photograph from 2007, when she was crowned the beauty queen of the festival in Canelas, the town where she grew up. She wore an enormous crown and a closed mouth smile, and looked directly at the camera.

After their wedding, she disappeared from public view until it was reported in 2011 that she had given birth to their twin daughters in Los Angeles County. On Feb. 22, 2014, she was with Guzmán and their daughters in the Pacific resort town of Mazatlan when he was captured by Mexican marines.

Guzmán was sent to the maximum security Altiplano prison outside Mexico City while his lawyers fought his extradition. On July 11, 2015, Guzmán escaped through a milelong tunnel that had been dug to the shower in his cell.

In January 2016, Mexican marines recaptured Guzman in Los Mochis, Sinaloa. The next month, Coronel gave her first ever interview to Hernández, complaining repeatedly about the conditions in which Guzmán was being held.

Coronel told Hernández she had learned of his escape from the Altiplano prison from television.

“If I had known something I wouldn’t have been able to sleep or eat from desperation,” she said. “I had no idea.”

Guzmán was extradited to the United States -- but not before Coronel was involved in planning yet another escape attempt that never came to fruition, U.S. prosecutors say.

Coronel and her designer wardrobe made a splash at the El Chapo trial. Photographers elbowed each other to capture her arrivals and departures.

At one point, she wore a burgundy velvet blazer that matched one she had sent to Guzmán to wear that day. Afterward, she commissioned a courtroom artist to recreate the show of solidarity -- a souvenir.

Coronel strode the courtroom confidently. She played with her hair while waiting for proceedings to start and chatted amicably with reporters sitting behind her. She carried crackers and cookies in her purse, sometimes offering snacks to reporters.

Every morning, Guzmán sought her out as he entered the courtroom. He smiled and waved hello.

One day she chatted and laughed in the courtroom with Mexican actor Alejandro Edda, who played Guzmán in the Netflix series “Narcos: México.” In the trial’s sixth week, she brought her 7-year-old twin daughters, dressed in matching jeans and white jackets; their father clapped to them softly, as if to play with them.

After Guzmán was convicted -- he would be sent away for life plus 30 years -- Coronel posted a statement thanking Guzmán’s attorneys, and her mother and sister for taking care of the twins while she was attending the trial.

She said the trial had been difficult. Her name had come up in testimony: Dámaso López, one of Guzmán’s former lieutenants, testified that he met several times with Coronel and Guzman’s sons to plan the drug boss’ escape from the Altiplano prison. And he said Coronel had relayed messages from her husband.

Coronel was unrepentant. “What I can only say about that is that I have nothing to be ashamed of,” she wrote. “I am not perfect but I consider myself a good human being and I have never hurt anyone intentionally.”


López, the editor of Noroeste, and Ismael Bojórquez, editor of Riodoce, a news outlet known for its investigations into Sinaloa’s underworld, both expressed shock that Coronel had traveled to and from the U.S. after the trial.

Hernández suspects U.S. authorities noticed Coronel’s change in lifestyle and spotted an opportunity to pressure her at a moment when she may be more open to betraying her husband.

Although Coronel has posted only five photos on Instagram (@therealemmacoronel), she has more than 563,000 followers.

For her last photo, posted in December, she posed in a white wedding dress, part of a fashion collection. And for a photo posted on her July birthday, she was resplendent in red lipstick, a black leather jacket -- and a crown in her long, dark hair, an echo of the small-town beauty queen she was so long ago.

“Happy birthday to me,” she wrote.

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Re: El Chapo's wife arrested on drug trafficking charge; detained without bail [Re: veggie]
    #27343583 - 06/10/21 09:49 PM (7 days, 15 hours ago)

Update ...

Wife of El Chapo Pleads Guilty to Helping Run His Drug Empire
June 10, 2021 - New York Times

Under an agreement with U.S. prosecutors, Emma Coronel Aispuro will likely be sentenced to at best 108 to 135 months in prison.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of the notorious Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo, pleaded guilty on Thursday to helping her husband run his global criminal empire nearly a decade ago and then, after one of his arrests, to escape from a high-security Mexican prison.

Appearing in a green suit at a hearing in federal court in Washington, Ms. Coronel, 31, acknowledged that starting in 2011, she helped her husband, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, smuggle at least 450 kilograms of cocaine, 90 kilograms of heroin and nearly 90,000 kilograms of marijuana into the United States.

Ms. Coronel also admitted to ferrying messages from Mr. Guzmán to a team of conspirators who helped him break out of the Altiplano prison, near Toluca, Mexico, in 2015 — a dramatic escape that involved a self-powered rail cart and a mile-long tunnel that was dug into the shower of his cell.

The court appearance, while brief, prompted interest across the United States and Mexico where Ms. Coronel, a duel U.S.-Mexican citizen, has remained a subject of fascination, partly stoked by her lavish social media habits. A constant presence at Mr. Guzmán’s trial in Brooklyn three years ago, she often came and went in a swirl of TV cameras, publicity advisers and expensive perfume.

According to her plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Ms. Coronel, who was arrested in February at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, was designated as a “minimal participant” in the crimes of her husband’s former organization, the Sinaloa drug cartel. Under the agreement, she faces 108 to 135 months in prison when she is sentenced in September, but her lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, said that she may serve less time than that.

“She is happy that she can start putting all of this behind her and is looking forward to getting back to her children,” Mr. Lichtman said. “We are expecting a sentence that will not destroy her life.”

Even though prosecutors introduced significant evidence at Mr. Guzmán’s trial that implicated Ms. Coronel, his third — or possibly fourth — wife, in international drug deals, some involving her own father, she more or less roamed free for the past two years as U.S. law enforcement officers investigated her and ultimately negotiated her surrender.

Mr. Guzmán, who was convicted in early 2019, is now serving a life sentence in the so-called Supermax, the United States’ most secure federal prison.

Despite incessant chatter in the news media, no provision in Ms. Coronel’s nine-page plea agreement called for cooperation with the American authorities. While there was intense speculation at the time of her arrest about whether she would spill the cartel’s secrets to investigators, it remains unclear who she could cooperate against. Her husband has been in U.S. custody since 2017 and many of the criminal associates that she might have theoretically testified against testified themselves against Mr. Guzmán at his trial.

Law enforcement officials say that Mr. Guzmán’s business interests are being handled by four of his sons who are collectively known as Los Chapitos and were born to women other than Ms. Coronel. Each of them is facing federal charges in the United States but remains at large in Mexico.

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