The spouse of Mexico’s biggest drug lord, was arrested on Monday. She is accused of drug trafficking and of helping her husband escape from prison in 2015
UNITED STATES (Agencies) – Emma Coronel, the wife of the world’s most powerful drug lord Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, hogged all the media spotlight during the 11-week trial that ended with a life sentence for her husband in 2019.
Coronel has been detained at Dulles (Virginia) International Airport, which serves the city of Washington. She is charged with engaging in international drug trafficking. Coronel, 31, a dual U.S.-Mexican national, faces charges of trafficking cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana.
She is scheduled to appear today, Tuesday, February 23, via videoconference in a federal court in the District of Columbia. She is also accused of helping El Chapo carry out one of the most publicized escapes in history: his escape from Mexico’s high-security El Altiplano prison in the summer of 2015 through a tunnel that connected his cell shower to a safe house via rails and a motorcycle. According to U.S. authorities, Coronel was plotting with Guzmán’s trusted people another escape in 2017, shortly before the kingpin’s extradition to the United States.
Emma Coronel met Guzmán Loera, El Chapo, at a ranch party. She was 17 years old and had just won the Sinaloa beauty queen contest. He was 51 and already the master of the world’s largest criminal organization. While she was dancing at the ranch with her then-boyfriend, a man approached her and told her that “el señor” wanted to dance with her.
Emma is the niece of Ignacio Coronel, one of her husband’s lieutenants. “We are not family,” she said in the interview as mentioned above, however. The Coronel surname is too heavy in Mexico’s criminal history. Ignacio Coronel was also known as the King of Crystal. He was number three in the Sinaloa Cartel, below El Chapo and Ismael El Mayo Zambada — the only member of the group at the time who has yet to be arrested.
Coronel was responsible for the trafficking of methamphetamines to the United States for at least 12 years until he was killed on July 29, 2010, in Zapopan, Jalisco, during a shootout with the Mexican Army. One of his sons, Alejandro Coronel Mardueño, a possible cousin of Emma’s, was also kidnapped and killed in 2010 when he was just 16 years old by his rivals, the Beltran Leyva, unleashing a wave of violence in the country.
Emma Coronel’s words about not knowing her husband’s business collapsed in court. In the messages, Joaquin Guzman gave her precise instructions on how to communicate. He advised her, for example, to use Blackberry phones — due to their encryption — and to contact the cartel’s technician for help. In another exchange, Coronel tells El Chapo that he believes the police will show up at the house. “Do you have a gun?” the narco asks her. She replies, “yes, one of yours, the one you gave me.” Guzman asks her to hide it in a safe place. He also advised her to live a normal life because he knew she would be used to locate him. The messages were sent between late 2011 and early 2012.