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U.S. Arrests El Chapo’s Spouse, Charging Her With Serving to to Run Drug Empire

Emma Coronel Aispuro, the spouse of Mexico’s most infamous drug trafficker, finest generally known as El Chapo, was arrested Monday and charged with serving to her husband run his multibillion-dollar felony empire and plotting to interrupt him out of jail after he was captured in 2014.

Ms. Coronel, a former magnificence queen, had been beneath investigation for no less than two years by U.S. federal authorities for being an confederate to her husband, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, who was convicted in 2019 at a trial in Brooklyn of masterminding an enormous drug conspiracy and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison.

Court docket paperwork filed in Ms. Coronel’s case mentioned she relayed messages for Mr. Guzmán that helped him make drug shipments from 2012 to 2014 and evade seize by the legions of American and Mexican authorities who had been pursuing him for years. Proof emerged at Mr. Guzmán’s trial that Ms. Coronel was additionally a chief conspirator in a complicated plot to interrupt him out of the Altiplano jail in Mexico by digging a nearly mile-long tunnel into the shower of his cell.

Ms. Coronel, 31, is a twin U.S.-Mexican citizen with roots in each Southern California and town of Culiacán in Mexico’s Sinaloa State, which has lengthy served as the bottom of operations for Mr. Guzmán’s drug group, the Sinaloa cartel. She was taken into custody at Dulles Worldwide Airport, close to Washington, and is scheduled to make an preliminary look on Tuesday within the U.S. District Court docket for the District of Columbia. Her lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, who additionally represented Mr. Guzmán, declined to touch upon the arrest.

Whereas it’s uncommon for regulation enforcement officers to go after the spouses of drug-world figures, prosecutors at Mr. Guzmán’s trial supplied substantial proof that Ms. Coronel, not like different wives of narco-traffickers, was deeply enmeshed in her husband’s felony enterprise.

They launched BlackBerry messages that made clear that she had helped Mr. Guzmán conduct his operations — generally together with her personal father. Different messages indicated that she was intimately concerned not solely in Mr. Guzmán’s well-known 2015 tunnel escape from Altiplano, but additionally in serving to him to evade seize by American and Mexican authorities after a botched raid in 2012 within the Mexican resort city Cabo San Lucas.

At Mr. Guzmán’s trial, his onetime chief of workers, Dámaso López Núñez, informed the jury that Ms. Coronel had sought to assist her husband escape but once more after he was recaptured in 2016 and returned to Altiplano. In keeping with testimony by Mr. López, Ms. Coronel hatched a plot to bribe Mexico’s prime jail official, however earlier than the plan might be carried out Mr. Guzmán was extradited to america to face trial.

Ms. Coronel, who’s Mr. Guzmán’s third — or probably fourth — spouse and the mom of two of his quite a few kids, grew up within the drug enterprise. Court docket filings word that her father, Inés Coronel Barreras, who was taken into custody in 2013 in Mexico, was one in every of Mr. Guzmán’s prime lieutenants.

Prosecutors have introduced fees in opposition to a number of members of Mr. Guzmán’s nuclear household. His two eldest sons, Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar and Ivan Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar, who stay at giant in Mexico, have been beneath indictment in america for years. Two of his youthful sons, Joaquín Guzmán López and Ovidio Guzmán López, were charged in Washington simply days after their father’s conviction and in addition stay fugitives.

The F.B.I. mentioned Ms. Coronel married Mr. Guzmán in about 2007. The marriage — within the tough mountain nation outdoors Culiacán — passed off when Ms. Coronel was 17 and Mr. Guzmán was greater than twice her age.

In an interview with The New York Times throughout Mr. Guzmán’s trial, Ms. Coronel caught up for her husband, saying that she didn’t acknowledge him because the drug lord prosecutors had portrayed him as. “I like him because the human being that I met,” she mentioned, “and the one which I married.”

She was a continuing presence within the courtroom in New York through the three-month trial, typically exhibiting up within the newest designer fashions. Fiercely loyal to her husband — regardless of his serial philandering — Ms. Coronel orchestrated one of many trial’s most dramatic nonlegal moments, sending a message to one in every of Mr. Guzmán’s mistresses, Lucero Guadalupe Sánchez López, who appeared at some point as a witness.

After Ms. Sánchez López proclaimed her love for Mr. Guzmán from the stand, Ms. Coronel organized for her husband to reach in court docket subsequent day sporting a burgundy velvet smoking jacket, similar to the one she was sporting. It was a sign that Ms. Coronel was Mr. Guzmán’s spouse and that Ms. Sánchez López, in her blue jail uniform, was merely the opposite girl.

It remained unclear on Monday night time why federal authorities arrested Ms. Coronel now after implicating her in her husband’s crime greater than two years in the past.

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