The glamorous life of Emma Coronel ends as El Chapo’s trophy wife

15 minutes. Emma Coronel, the wife of Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, pleaded guilty Thursday to three crimes related to drug trafficking in a Washington DC district court following an agreement with the United States Justice.

Coronel, whose case was declassified Wednesday night by court order, is charged with two crimes of conspiracy, one to distribute narcotics in the United States and another to launder money, and a third crime for carrying out operations with the properties of a major foreign drug trafficker.

The wife of the former leader of the Sinaloa cartel, 31 years old and with dual Mexican and American nationality, responded briefly to Judge Rudolph Contreras, who accepted his statement, in a hearing broadcast by telephone in which he also said that he had collaborated in the activities and the her husband’s prison escape in Mexico in 2015.

The magistrate set for September 15 the hearing in which the sentence of Coronel will be determined, who can face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment that, in addition, carries a fine of 10 million dollars , as informed him.

Coronel, who married the drug trafficker in 2007 and with whom she has two daughters, was arrested at Dulles International Airport (Virginia) last February.

She was arrested on suspicion of helping her husband import drugs into the country, and has been held without bail ever since. He will remain there until his sentence is read.

Guilty, guilty, guilty …

During the hearing, open to the press and the public, Coronel mainly limited himself to answering yes or no to the judge’s questions. In this way he gave her to understand that he was competent and that he knew the consequences of his guilty plea.

After an hour of exchanges, she was finally heard saying “guilty” in Spanish three times, once for each crime, and expressing a sob.

Earlier, Contreras reminded him that the charges are not the result of a grand jury indictment. For this reason he pleaded guilty to what is considered “information.” This would deprive her of the right to have a trial and “probably” to appeal the sentence, to which she replied that she agreed.

Prosecutor Anthony Nardozzi affirmed that the US Government could prove each of the charges thanks to witnesses and police data. She explained that she helped El Chapo to “facilitate the importation” of drugs into the United States and to escape from the Altiplano prison in 2015.

She also explained that throughout her marriage she “controlled” her husband’s commercial and residential properties. He also commented that he managed the income derived from his rentals. This involves a series of financial transactions that violate US laws, since he was designated a drug trafficker in 2001.

Contreras asked Coronel to listen to those accusations in search of errors, before which he confirmed that they were “true and correct.” In addition, he added that he had participated in all the activities that the prosecutors summarized.

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