The wife of drug cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison on multiple charges, including drug trafficking and money laundering.
Emma Coronel Aispuro originally pleaded guilty to the charges on June 10, after being arrested at Dulles International Airport in Virginia in February, as The Daily Wire reported. “Coronel Aispuro conspired with Guzman Loera and other members of the Sinaloa cartel to traffic five kilograms or more of cocaine, one kilogram or more of heroin, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, and 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, knowing that these narcotics would be transported into and distributed in the United States,” the US Department of Justice said in a statement announcing the sentencing, citing court documents.
“She also conspired to launder the proceeds of that narcotics trafficking and engaged in transactions and dealings in the property of her husband, Guzman Loera, who the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had designated a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker.”
Court documents cited by the DOJ indicate that from 2011 to 2017, Coronel Aispuro was a co-conspirator in the activities of the Sinaloa Cartel, the drug trafficking operation run by Guzman, her husband. The documents also allege that Coronel Aispuro “played a critical role” in El Chapo’s 2015 escape from a Mexican prison, meeting with other co-conspirators to plan the escape and collecting drug proceeds to raise funds for the escape operation. “To facilitate the escape, Coronel Aispuro assisted in the purchase of a property near the prison and provided Guzman Loera with a watch that contained a GPS tracking device, allowing co-conspirators to dig a tunnel from that nearby property, under the prison, to Guzman Loera’s cell. Coronel Aispuro even relayed messages from Guzman Loera to other members of the Sinaloa Cartel regarding the operation of their illicit activities while he was detained,” the DOJ statement read.
U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras also entered a money forfeiture judgement during the sentencing hearing for $1,499,970 against Coronel Aispuro, the money “representing proceeds of and property obtained by Coronel Aispuro as a result of her drug-trafficking activities,” the DOJ statement said.
Coronel Aispuro, 32, was born in California, with dual citizenship between the United States and Mexico. A former beauty pageant queen, she married Guzman on her 18th birthday in 2007, according to the New York Post.
Prosecutors in the sentencing memo wrote, per the New York Post, that Coronel Aispuro “attempted to aid and abet the goals” of Guzman. They claimed that she bribed officials at the prison where Guzman was held to take good care of the drug lord while he was imprisoned, in addition to her role as a go-between for Guzman and members of the cartel and facilitating his escape from prison in 2015.
Prosecutors recommended a sentence of just four years and the previously mentioned asset forfeiture, writing in the memo that Coronel Aispuro had no criminal history and that she “swiftly accepted responsibility for her actions,” the Post reported.
“We’re pleased with the result and we’re pleased with the court recognizing her very minimal role,” Jeffrey Lichtman, Coronel Aispuro’s defense lawyer, told The Post on Tuesday.
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