Yesterday, the wife of Joaquín “Chapo” Guzmán was arrested at the Washington Dulles International Airport. The 35-year-old Emma Coronel Aispuro is a dual citizen of México and the United States. She was born in California on July 3, 1989. She married Chapo in 2007, according to the arrest affidavit.
In 2019, Chapo was convicted on several federal charges and is currently serving a life sentence, plus 30 years in a maximum-security prison.
The Court Hearing
Coronel Aispuro’s initial court hearing began around noon this afternoon in Washington D.C. The U.S. prosecutor is Anthony Nardozzi. Emma Coronal Aispuro was represented by Jeff Lichtman, one of Chapo’s defense attorneys. The magistrate judge is Robin Meriweather.
The virtual hearing began with technical difficulties. Coronel Aispuro was in a cell without a telephone to use during the hearing to answer the judge’s questions. She also requested an interpreter. After a short delay for an interpreter to arrive, the hearing began with the interpreter translating and responded to the judge’s questions on behalf of Coronel Aispuro.
The prosecutor asked for pretrial detention for Emma Coronel Aispuro because they consider her a flight risk. The prosecutors argued that Emma Coronel Aispuro “worked closely” with the Sinaloa cartel. The prosecutors added that she participated in Chapo’s 2015 prison escape. Court testimony during the Chapo trial reveled that she was also trying to help Chapo escape prison again shortly before being extradited to the United States.
Lichtman told the judge that his client has agreed to a “temporary order of detention,” adding that they were not making any motions for bail at the hearing.
Remanded To Jail
During her initial court hearing today that ended shortly after 1 (Eastern) in the afternoon, Emma Coronel Aispuro was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. She will remain in jail in Alexandria Virginia until her next court hearing.
According to the twelve-page affidavit for her arrest warrant, Coronel Aispuro conspired to “knowingly and intentionally distribute one (1) kilogram or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of heroin.” She is also charged with trafficking five kilos of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms of marihuana, in addition to 500 grams of methamphetamines.
The Chapo Trial
On February 12, 2019, Chapo Guzmán was convicted on 51 charges. On July 17, 2019, Chapo was sentenced to life plus 30 years. Emma Coronal Aispuro was a fixture at the Chapo trial. At one point during the trial, there was some controversy over the security measures at the courthouse when Emma Coronel Aispuro was able to make a short telephone call to her husband in violation of the judge’s orders. Coronel Aispuro was scolded by the judge for having a telephone at the courthouse during the trial.
Court testimony during the Chapo trial showed that Emma Coronel Aispuro not only knew about her husband’s criminal activities but she also actively participated in his escape from jail in 2015. The testimony also showed that she was actively working to help her husband escape prison again before his extradition to the United States.
Wire taps presented in Chapo’s trial also showed that Emma Coronel Aispuro handled telephone calls between her father and Chapo as they worked out the details for drug shipments. She also relayed messages about the drug business between Chapo and underlings while Chapo was on the run from Mexican authorities.
The arrest affidavit lists various examples of Emma Coronel Aispuro facilitating messages between her husband and the Sinaloa cartel.
Her next court hearing has not been scheduled.
Martín Paredes is the author of Convicting Chapo, Naked and Afraid, the Trial to Convict El Chapo available on Amazon.