El Chapo's wife sentenced to three years after pleading guilty

·2 min read

The wife of former Sinaloa drug cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday, the Justice Department said in a press release.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, 32, a dual U.S.-Mexican citizen, was sentenced on charges related to international drug trafficking, money laundering, and a criminal violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

She will serve 36 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release after pleading guilty on all charges. She will also be fined nearly $1.5 million, according to court filings.

According to court documents, Coronel conspired with Guzman and other members of the Sinaloa cartel to traffic cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana, knowing that these substances would be transported into and distributed in the United States.

The Justice Department said she also conspired to launder the proceeds of that narcotics trafficking and engaged in transactions and dealings in the property of her husband, who the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control had designated a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker.

Coronel begged the judge for forgiveness and said she was remorseful for her actions, Reuters reported.

"I am here before you, asking you for forgiveness," she said through a court interpreter.

Coronel's attorney asked the judge to show mercy, noting she entered into the world of drug trafficking at a young age after she married Guzman.

"She met Joaquin Guzman when she was a minor. She was 17 years old, and she married him on her 18th birthday," said her attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, per Reuters.

She is also accused by officials of playing a critical role in facilitating Guzman's escape from a Mexican prison in 2015 and planning meetings with other co-conspirators by financing the escape with drug proceeds.

To facilitate her husband's escape from prison, Coronel is accused of purchasing a property near the prison. She then gave Guzman a watch that contained a GPS tracking device, which allowed co-conspirators to dig a tunnel from that nearby property, under the prison, to his cell.

Guzman, 63, is currently serving a life sentence in Colorado. He was convicted of drug trafficking, conspiracy, kidnapping, murder and other charges in February 2019.

Coronel was arrested on Feb. 22 while at Dulles International airport.