Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s wife for appearing in the US

NEW YORK (AP) – Emma Coronel, the wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, is expected to appear in federal court Tuesday afternoon in Washington, DC She was arrested yesterday in the state of Virginia and faces charges drug trafficking, reported the US Department of Justice.

Coronel, 31, who is a Mexican and an American citizen, was detained at Dulles International Airport. She was transferred Monday night to the Alexandria, Virginia Detention Center and is expected to appear Tuesday by video conference for an initial hearing before a District of Columbia judge. His attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, declined to comment Monday night.

Coronel is not only accused of participating in a criminal association to traffic cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin and marijuana, but the United States also accuses her of having joined others to help Guzmán escape from the Altiplano prison, in Almoloya de Juárez, Mexico, in July 2015, it is indicated in the text.

After Guzmán was re-arrested in Mexico in January 2016, Coronel allegedly again planned, along with others, another escape attempt for her husband. Guzmán, however, was extradited to the United States in January 2017.

Coronel appeared every day at her husband’s drug trafficking trial – held in New York’s Eastern District Court – in late 2018 and the first two months of 2019, and was caught on camera every time she entered or left the building of the court, in Brooklyn. Guzmán was sentenced to life in prison due to his role as leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.

According to an affidavit issued by Eric McGuire, an FBI agent, and released by the Department of Justice, from 2012 to 2014 Coronel passed messages from Guzmán to other members of the cartel to continue drug trafficking activities while he evaded Mexican authorities. .

Following the arrest of “El Chapo” in February 2014, Coronel continued to pass on the messages her husband gave her when she visited him in prison, McGuire wrote. Mexican authorities did not monitor visits, the agent said.

“I believe that Coronel acted as a messenger between Guzmán and his soldiers, associates and children,” McGuire wrote. “I also understand that Guzmán continued to direct the drug trafficking activities of the Sinaloa Cartel from the Altiplano prison through various individuals, including Colonel”.

The FBI agent bases his accusations in part on the statements of a witness whom he calls “Collaborating Witness 1”. McGuire says that after the arrest of “El Chapo” in January 2016, Coronel gave the witness $ 100,000 and told him to buy property near the Altiplano prison. The witness would end up receiving a million dollars to carry out the escape plan, says McGuire.

Guzmán, however, was transferred to a prison in Ciudad Juárez. Coronel told the witness that she and others were trying to transfer “El Chapo” back to the Altiplano prison, where escape “would be possible.”

Coronel allegedly told the witness that approximately two million dollars had been paid to the Mexican official who ran Mexico’s prisons to carry out the transfer to the Altiplano.

Guzmán never returned to said jail.

According to McGuire, Coronel, a former beauty queen, married Guzmán in 2007 when she was a teenager. She was familiar with the world of drug trafficking because her father, Inés Coronel Barreras, was arrested in 2013 along with one of his sons and others in Arizona in a warehouse full of marijuana.

Guzmán, one of the best-known drug traffickers in the world, and Coronel are the parents of two twins born in 2011 and whom their mother took to the Brooklyn court a couple of times for their father to see.

Coronel was mentioned several times during her husband’s trial, in which a witness testified that Coronel played a key role in Guzmán’s escape in 2015. His partners built a tunnel that led to the shower in “El Chapo’s” cell. .

Dámaso López Nuñez, who worked for Guzmán, testified in the Brooklyn trial that Coronel helped Guzmán communicate with his children and others who coordinated the escape from the Altiplano jail.

Following the sentencing of her husband in 2019, Coronel launched a clothing brand named after her.

Coronel’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, told the AP he had no comment regarding the arrest.

Mike Vigil, former head of international operations for the US drug agency DEA, said that Coronel “was involved in drug trafficking since she was a little girl. He knows well how the Sinaloa Cartel works ”.

“I think the Chapitos (Guzmán’s sons from previous relationships) and Ismael” El Mayo “Zambada (who is presumed to be the current leader of the cartel) are shaking now,” he said, because he believes that Coronel will probably collaborate with the US authorities.

“He will cooperate, I have no doubt,” Vigil said. “She has great motivation and those are her twins.”


Associated Press journalists Chris Sherman and Mark Stevenson in Mexico City and Michael Balsamo in Washington, DC, contributed to this report.