February 23, 2021 - 11:37 AMT
Wife of Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán arrested

Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of Mexico’s most notorious drug trafficker, best known as El Chapo, was arrested Monday, February 22 and charged with helping her husband run his multibillion-dollar criminal empire and plotting to break him out of prison after he was captured in 2014, The New York Times reports.

Coronel, a former beauty queen, had been under investigation for at least two years by U.S. federal authorities for being an accomplice to her husband, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, who was convicted in 2019 at a trial in Brooklyn of masterminding a huge drug conspiracy and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison.

Court documents filed in Coronel’s case said she relayed messages for Guzmán that helped him make drug shipments from 2012 to 2014 and evade capture by the legions of American and Mexican authorities who had been pursuing him for years. Evidence emerged at Guzmán’s trial that Ms. Coronel was also a chief conspirator in a sophisticated plot to break him out of the Altiplano prison in Mexico by digging a nearly mile-long tunnel into the shower of his cell.

Coronel, 31, is a dual U.S.-Mexican citizen with roots in both Southern California and the city of Culiacán in Mexico’s Sinaloa State, which has long served as the base of operations for Guzmán’s drug organization, the Sinaloa cartel.

She was taken into custody at Dulles International Airport, near Washington, and is scheduled to make an initial appearance on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Her lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, who also represented Guzmán, declined to comment on the arrest.