Chapo’s wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, sentenced to three years in prison in the United States.
A US judge on Tuesday sentenced Emma Coronel Aispuro, wife of jailed Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, to three years in prison on drug trafficking and money laundering charges.
The sentence was less than the four relatively light years requested by prosecutors, and the judge acknowledged that Coronel was only a teenager when she married the ruthless drug czar and easily pleaded guilty after her arrest in February 2021.
With long hair and dressed in a dark suit and white turtleneck shirt, Coronel, a 32-year-old former beauty queen, apologized to the court.
“I express my true regret for any damage I may have done,” he said in Spanish before the sentence was announced.
“I am suffering as a result of the pain I caused my family.”
She asked the judge to allow her to raise her nine-year-old twin daughters.
“They are already growing up without the presence of a parent,” he said.
“I beg you, please don’t allow them to grow up without their mother’s presence.”
‘Minimal’ paper on the poster
The judge said he would also pay $ 1.5 million in a restitution settlement agreed upon before the hearing, and that he would be given credit for the nine months he has already spent behind bars since his arrest.
Prosecutors and his defense attorneys described Coronel as not involved in the core business of Guzmán’s Sinaloa Cartel, which shipped hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs to the United States, according to the United States Department of Justice.
“The actual role of the defendant was minimal,” said prosecutor Anthony Nardozzi.
“The defendant was not a leader, organizer, boss or other type of manager. Rather, he was a cog in a very large wheel of a criminal organization,” he told the court.
But the prosecution also noted that Coronel played a key role in helping her husband escape from a Mexican prison in 2015.
However, Nardozzi said, “the defendant chose to take responsibility for her actions” immediately after her arrest.
In pronouncing his sentence, Judge Rudolph Contreras wished Coronel good luck.
“I hope you raise your twins in a different environment than what you have experienced to date,” he told her.
Blowing kisses to husband
Thirty-two years younger than her husband, Coronel met him in her teens and they married when she turned 18.
Coronel became an object of intense fascination when she regularly joined the audience at his trial in New York after he was extradited from Mexico in 2017.
Tall, with long dark hair, tight clothing and heavy makeup, Coronel would smile at Guzmán and blow kisses as he attended the trial almost every day for three months, sometimes bringing his daughters so they could see their father.
Guzmán was sentenced in July 2019 to life in prison.
Despite her closeness to one of the world’s most notorious drug traffickers, she was able to enter and leave the United States freely until she was arrested upon arriving at Dulles International Airport outside Washington in February 2021.
Months later, he pleaded guilty to all three trafficking and laundering charges against him.
Outside court on Tuesday, Coronel’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, rejected reports that she had cooperated with government investigators investigating the drug business, reports that he said had left her in danger of retaliation.
Because he had no criminal record and easily admitted guilt, skipping a trial, Lichtman said, the Justice Department’s sentencing guidelines stipulated a relatively short prison term.
“The guidelines were so low that there was no need to cooperate,” he said.
“She will be out of jail in 18 months,” he predicted.