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El Chapo's Wife Sentenced In U.S. For Her Role In Husband’s Massive Drug Empire

Sinaloa Cartel members were able to dig a tunnel and help Joaquin Guzman Loera escape prison after Emma Coronel Aispuro gave him a watch with GPS tracking.

Emma Coronel Aispuro G

The wife of the notorious cartel kingpin known as “El Chapo” has been sentenced for her role in helping run his expansive drug empire.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, 32, was sentenced to 36 months in prison plus four years of supervised release for crimes committed to help her husband, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, according to the Department of Justice. Coronel Aispuro, a dual citizen in the United States and Mexico, pleaded guilty on June 10 to charges of money laundering, drug trafficking and a criminal violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

Guzman Loera, the leader of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel, was captured by Mexican authorities on Feb. 22, 2014, according to the DOJ.

In 2015, according to prosecutors, his wife helped him escape prison.

"Coronel Aispuro played a critical role in facilitating his escape from a Mexican prison, which ultimately occurred on July 11, 2015,” according to the DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs. She did so, they say, “By conducting planning meetings with other co-conspirators and by coordinating the movement of drug proceeds to finance his escape.”

Coronel Aispuro purchased a home adjacent to the prison and gave her husband a watch with GPS tracking, “allowing co-conspirators to dig a tunnel from that nearby property, under the prison, to Guzman Loera’s cell.”

Guzman Loera was captured six months later, according to NPR. In July 2019, he was sentenced to life in a U.S. prison for engaging in a continued criminal enterprise, drug trafficking and a firearms charge.

During Guzman Loera’s 30-year reign as the cartel’s head, he earned more than $12 billion for trafficking marijuana, heroin and cocaine into the United States, according to the International Business Times. His empire comprised 25% of the illegal drug trade from Mexico. 

While Guzman Loera was incarcerated, Coronel Aispuro helped her husband and other Sinaloa cartel members traffic five kilograms or more of cocaine, one or more kilograms of heroin, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, according to the DOJ. Federal prosecutors said Coronel Aispuro was aware the drugs would be transported into the United States.

Coronel Aispuro was arrested and detained at Dulles International Airport in February.

Shortly before Tuesday’s sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras, Coronel Aispuro expressed her regret through a Spanish-speaking translator, according to Reuters.

“With all due respect, I address you today to express my true regret and for any and all harm that I may have done, and I ask that you and all the citizens of this country forgive me,” she said.

Federal prosecutor Anthony Nardozzi claimed Coronel Aispuro’s crimes were minor compared to the massive empire controlled by her husband.

“While the overall effect of the defendant’s conduct was significant, the defendant’s actual role was a minimal one,” said Nardozzi, according to Reuters. “The defendant acted primarily in support of her husband.”

Coronel Aispuro is a U.S.-born former beauty queen who married Guzman Loera while she was a teenager, according to Reuters. They have 9-year-old twin daughters.

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