Monday, October 18, 2021

El Chapo’s wife readies guilty plea in Washington

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The wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Emma Coronel Aispuro, is due to plead guilty on Thursday in Washington, where she has been accused of helping her husband run the Sinaloa cartel of smugglers, court records show.

It was not immediately clear what charges Coronel would plead guilty to in a virtual hearing at 10 a.m. ET (1400 GMT) before US District Judge Rudolph Contreras.

The 31-year-old former beauty queen was arrested in February on allegations that she relayed messages to help Guzman traffic drugs from 2012 to early 2014, and continued delivering messages while visiting him in a Mexican prison following his February 2014 arrest. Prosecutors also say she played a key role in Guzman’s 2015 escape from a Mexican prison.

Coronel was born in California and holds both U.S. and Mexican citizenship.

She was charged with conspiring to distribute 5 kg or more of cocaine, 1 or more kg of heroin, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and 1,000 or more kg of marijuana, as well as aiding and abetting.

If convicted on all federal charges, she could be sentenced to as long as life in prison and fined up to $10 million.

Guzman, 64, was convicted in February 2019 in a high-profile Brooklyn trial of masterminding a multibillion-dollar drug enterprise for the Sinaloa cartel.

He was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years, and locked up in the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.

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