Wife of drug kingpin ‘El Chapo’ pleads guilty to charges
The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman pleaded guilty Thursday to charges in the US and admitted that she helped her husband run his multibillion-dollar criminal empire.
Emma Coronel Aispuro, wearing a green jail uniform, appeared in federal court in Washington and pleaded guilty to three federal offences as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
The charges include knowingly and wilfully conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine for several years. She also pleaded guilty to a money-laundering conspiracy charge and to engaging in transactions with a foreign narcotics trafficker.
The 31-year-old was arrested in February at Dulles International Airport in Virginia and has been jailed since then.
“She is very happy to put this behind her,” Coronel Aispuro’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, said outside the courthouse. “She didn’t expect to get arrested after her husband received life in prison. So, this is obviously a troubling time. But we’re going to get past it.”
Prosecutors have alleged Coronel Aispuro “worked closely with the command-and-control structure” of the Sinaloa cartel and conspired to distribute large quantities of drugs, knowing they would be smuggled into the US.
As Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Guzman ran a cartel responsible for smuggling cocaine and other drugs into the United States during his 25-year reign, prosecutors say. They also said his “army of sicarios”, or “hit men”, was under orders to kidnap, torture and kill anyone who got in his way.