By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) – U.S. Prosecutors on Thursday asked a judge to sentence the wife of the imprisoned Mexican drug kingpin known as “El Chapo” to four years behind bars after she pleaded guilty to drug distribution and money laundering charges.
Emma Coronel Aispuro, a former teenage beauty queen who married Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera at 17, should also forfeit $1.5 million tied to her criminal activities, prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Coronel Aispuro, 32, pleaded guilty in June to three counts of conspiring to distribute illegal drugs, conspiring to launder money and of enaging in financial dealings with the Sinaloa drug cartel.
She faces sentencing on Nov. 30.
As part of her plea agreement with prosecutors, Coronel Aispuro also admitted acting as a courier between Guzman and other members of the Sinaloa cartel while he was being held in Mexico’s Altiplano prison following a 2014 arrest.
Guzman used those communications to plan his 2015 escape from the prison, north of Toluca, Mexico, through an underground tunnel built by the cartel leading to the shower in his cell.
The drug lord was recaptured in January 2016 and extradited one year later to the United States. He was convicted in February 2019 of drug trafficking, conspiracy, kidnapping, murder and other charges.
Guzman was sentenced in July 2019 to life behind bars and is serving his time at the United States Penitentiary near Florence, Colorado, a “supermax” facility designed for the most dangerous inmates.
Coronel Aispuro, who was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and has dual U.S-Mexican citizenship, was arrested in February 2021 at Dulles International Airport.