WASHINGTON – The wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was sentenced Tuesday to three years in federal prison and four years of supervised release for drug trafficking and money laundering charges.
Emma Coronel Aispuro, 32, agreed in June to plead guilty to federal charges of helping her husband run his expansive drug cartel. The former beauty queen has twin daughters with the notorious Sinaloa cartel boss.
Coronel, a dual U.S. and Mexican citizen, was arrested in February at Dulles International Airport in Virginia and charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the United States.
Joaquin Guzman Loera, also known as “El Chapo” is transported to Maximum Security Prison of El Altiplano in Mexico City, Mexico on January 8, 2016.
Daniel Cardenas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
“She also conspired to launder the proceeds of that narcotics trafficking and engaged in transactions and dealings in the property of her husband, Guzman Loera, who the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had designated a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker,” the Justice Department wrote in a statement.
Coronel was also ordered to forfeit approximately $1.5 million.
According to U.S. attorneys, Coronel played a “critical role” in helping her husband pull off a Houdini-like escape from a Mexican prison in 2015.
The Sinaloa cartel boss escaped from a maximum-security prison in July 2015 after slipping through a hole in the shower area of his cell.
Entrance of the tunnel inside the house where used by Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman to escape from the Maximum Security Prison of El Altiplano last Sunday, in Almoloya de Juarez, Mexico on July 16, 2015.
Manuel Velasquez | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
The 1½-foot-by-1½-foot gap in the shower floor led to a custom-built tunnel nearly 30 feet underneath the Altiplano prison complex. The tunnel was 5 feet high and nearly 3 feet wide and equipped with a ventilation system.
Coronel assisted with the purchase of a property near the prison and provided Guzman with a watch that contained a GPS tracking device, allowing co-conspirators to dig a tunnel from that nearby property to Guzman’s cell.
According to a witness who is now working with the U.S. government, Coronel helped organize the construction of the elaborate escape tunnel.
The 2015 escape was the second time Mexican authorities lost custody of Guzman.
A view of the tunnel through which according to the authorities Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman escaped from Mexican Maximum Security Prison of ‘El Altiplano’ on July 15, 2015 in Mexico City, Mexico.
Manuel Velasquez | LatinContent WO | Getty Images
The farmhand turned powerful cartel leader first escaped from prison in 2001. He managed to evade capture for 13 years.
After more than six months on the run, Guzman was captured again in 2016 by Mexican authorities.
Following his 2016 arrest, the witness told U.S. authorities that Coronel provided a Mexican official with $2 million to oversee Guzman’s transfer from one prison to another.
According to U.S. attorneys, Coronel ordered the transfer so that a new escape could be facilitated. The drug boss was never transferred. A year later, he was extradited to the United States.
After a three-month trial in 2019, which Coronel attended, the narco kingpin was sentenced to life in prison plus an additional 30 years and ordered to forfeit $12.6 billion.