El Chapo's Wife Is Going to Prison for Her Role in Cartel

The wife of convicted drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has had her day in court and will be going to prison for her role in her husband's cartel. CBS News reports that Emma Coronel Aispuro pleaded guilty to helping run El Chapo's criminal mega-empire and has been sentenced to three years in prison. Notably, Coronel Aispuro also helped El Chapo plan his infamous 2015 escape from a Mexican prison, in which the cartel leader fled through a tunnel that had been dug underneath the facility.

Coronel Aispuro supplied El Chapo with a GPS-enabled watch by smuggling it into his food. The device allowed the tunnel-diggers used to locate El Chapo's position in the prison. Prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras to give Coronel Aispuro a four-year sentence, but he argued the shorter term was more fitting as her role in El Chapo's crime syndicate was not a large piece of the organization. Coronel Aispuro's defense team argued that the fact she was only 17 years old when she met El Chapo, and only 18 years old when they married, should be taken into serious consideration. "This began when she was a very impressionable minor married to a powerful man more than three decades older," attorney Jeffrey Lichtman stated.

Coronel Aispuro,32, was arrested at Dulles International Airport in Virginia in February. She has remained jailed since then. Coronel Aispuro previously entered into a plea deal with federal prosecutors, pleading guilty to three federal offenses and surrendered $1.5 million. The charges against Coronel Aispuro include "knowingly and willfully conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine for several years." Additionally,  she "pleaded guilty to a money-laundering conspiracy charge and to engaging in transactions with a foreign narcotics trafficker."

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During her time in court, Coronel Aispuro spoke through a Spanish translator and expressed "true regret for any and all harm" that came from her time with El Chapo. "I am here before you, asking for forgiveness," she added. Coronel Aispuro asked the judge for a sentence that would allow her the ability to see her daughters, 9-year-old twins, grow up. Coronel Aispuro's sentencing is starking different from her husband El Chapo's sentencing. In 2019, he was sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison after being convicted on murder conspiracy and drug charges.