During federal court proceedings in Washington, D.C. on Thursday (June 9), Emma Coronel Aispuro, El Chapo’s wife’s plea deal caused she pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering charges related to her husband’s criminal empire.
The wife of the Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán admitted that she supported her husband run his multibillion-dollar narcotics empire.
Thereupon Coronel, arrested at Dulles International Airport in Virginia in February, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine, engaging to launder money, and joining in transactions and dealings of a designated foreign narcotics trafficker.
As part of her plea agreement, the 31-year-old former beauty queen, who has been jailed since February, also confessed to conspiring to help her husband flee from a Mexican prison in 2015.
Last seen in a green jail uniform in federal court in Washington, El Chapo’s wife pleaded guilty to three offenses as part of the plea deal with federal prosecutors.
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Coronel Aispuro listened quietly as prosecutors described how they could prove her illegal activity if she chose to go to trial.
“Yes,” she said through a translator, when asked by the judge if she had actually committed the crimes the government described.
Coronel could face up to life in prison for the drug distribution charge alone. The other two counts against her carry maximum prison terms of 20 years and 10 years, respectively.
“She is very happy to put this behind her,” Coronel Aispuro’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, said outside the courthouse. “She didn’t expect to get arrested after her husband received life in prison. So, this is obviously a troubling time. But we’re going to get past it.”
Prosecutors have alleged Coronel Aispuro “worked closely with the command-and-control structure” of the Sinaloa cartel and conspired to distribute large quantities of drugs, knowing they would be smuggled into the US.
As Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Guzmán ran a cartel responsible for smuggling cocaine and other drugs into the United States during his 25-year reign, prosecutors say. They also said his “army of sicarios”, or “hitmen”, was under orders to kidnap, torture, and kill anyone who got in his way.
The prosecutor, Anthony Nardozzi, said his wife had “aided and abetted” the Sinaloa cartel’s objectives to smuggle drugs into the US and helped to import more than 450,000kg (1m pounds) of cocaine, 90,000kg of heroin, 45,000kg of methamphetamine and about 90,000kg of marijuana.
Lichtman insisted that Coronel Aisupro was a “very minimal participant” in the drug empire. “She was a very small part of this much larger thing,” he said.
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