Feb. 23 (UPI) — The wife of Mexican drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was arrested on drug trafficking charges Monday, federal authorities said.
Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, was arrested at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., on charges of participating in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana to be imported into the United States and for allegedly conspiring to assist Guzman’s escape from prison, the Justice Department said in a statement.
The criminal complaint unsealed Monday states that Coronel Aispuro’s father was a member of the Sinaloa Cartel, which Guzman led, and the couple were married when she was a teenager.
It also alleges that she was aware of multi-ton shipments of cocaine and marijuana, multi-kilo production of heroin and ton quantities of methamphetamine shipments and “understood the drug proceeds she controlled” while married to Guzman.
Guzman, 62, was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison in December 2019 after a three-year trial in which he was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, drug trafficking and money laundering.
Coronel Aispuro was accused of acting as a “go-between and messenger” for Guzman and the cartel by relaying messages related to the cartel while he was in jail.
“I further understand that Guzman continued to direct the drug trafficking activities of the Sinaloa Cartel from Altiplano prison through a number of individuals, including Coronel,” the complaint states.
Guzman also twice escaped from Mexican prisons and the complaint alleges that Coronel Aispuro agreed to help coordinate the construction of a 1,600-yard escape tunnel.
Additionally, the complaint states that Coronel Aispuro paid a former cartel member $1 million to execute another escape after Guzman was returned to prison and told the member that a Mexican official had been paid $2 million in bribes to facilitate a transfer from another prison back to Altiplano.