Wife Of Mexican Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ Arrested At US Airport
Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, was held at Dulles International Airport in Virginia and is expected to appear in a federal court later, the US Justice Department said.
She has been accused of conspiring to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the US, as well as helping her husband escape prison in Mexico via a secret tunnel in 2015.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was once Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, with his Sinaloa cartel responsible for smuggling mountains of cocaine and other drugs into the US during his 25-year criminal career.
He had first escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001, leading authorities on a 13-year manhunt before he was recaptured.
It was his second major prison break in 2015 that his wife allegedly had a key role in planning.
Guzman managed to escape through a hole under his cell’s shower that led to a mile-long lighted tunnel, using a motorbike on rails to speed up his departure.
He ran an operation that delivered hundreds of tons of narcotics into United States and was behind multiple murders of those who crossed him, according to court filings.
El-Chapo was extradited to United States in 2017 to stand trial, and was convicted and sentenced to life in prison two years later.
Coronel, according to the Justice Department, took part in cartel activities and also allegedly assisted in two plots to help Guzman escape from Mexican prison, including the successful first one in 2015.
A dual US-Mexico citizen and the mother of twins by Guzman, Coronel appeared in court nearly every day of his three-month trial in New York.
She had been barred from all contact with him during more than two years of pre-trial detention.
However, during the trial, each day as he entered and left the courtroom, Guzman touched his heart and blew her a kiss.
During the trial, there were suggestions that Coronel was involved in his business and prison escape, but authorities let her come and go freely.
At the end of the trial, she said;
I can only say that I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am not perfect, but I consider myself a good human being who has never hurt anyone intentionally.
Guzman was locked up in the highest-security prison in the United States, the ADX federal prison in Florence, Colorado.
Coronel is expected to appear by video conference in federal district court in Washington on Tuesday.
Her US lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, told AFP she would be pleading “not guilty.”