El Chapo's Wife Emma Coronel Sentenced To Three Years In Prison

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Damir Mujezinovic

Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of the notorious Mexican drug lord El Chapo, was sentenced on Tuesday to three years in prison.

Coronel, a dual U.S.-Mexican citizen, was arrested in February at Dulles International Airport. In June, she pleaded guilty to helping her husband smuggle drugs into America, and to helping him escape from a high-security prison in Mexico.

El Chapo, whose real name is Joaquín Guzmán Loera, was sentenced to life in prison in 2019 on multiple counts related to drug trafficking, money laundering, and murder.

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As BBC reported, Coronel could have faced life in prison, but she pleaded guilty and "expressed remorse," so was convicted to just three years behind bars.

Coronel will be subject to four years of supervised release after leaving prison, and will also have to forfeit nearly $1.5 million.

In the courtroom, Coronel stated that she had "true regret for any and all harm that I may have done."

Federal prosecutor Anthony Nardozzi, who asked for a four year sentence earlier this month, said that Coronel's role in El Chapo's empire was minimal and she "quickly accepted responsibility for her criminal conduct."

Court Documents

Court documents show Coronel conspired with El Chapo and members of his cartel to traffic marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine into the U.S., and launder drug money.

The documents also say Coronel played a "critical role" in El Chapo's escape from prison in 2015 -- the drug kingpin escaped through tunnels dug underneath the prison to a property nearby that was purchased by Coronel.

After El Chapo escaped, his whereabouts were unknown for months. However, he resurfaced for an interview with famous Hollywood actor Sean Penn.

Coronel Fears For Her Safety

A former beauty queen, Coronel met El Chapo when she was 17 and married him as soon as she turned 18.

At the trial, Coronel's attorney Jeffrey Lichtman argued that she would be in danger if she ever returned to Mexico -- drug cartels, he said, would target her over allegations she cooperated with American authorities.

"I'm not sure that she could ever go back home," Lichtman stressed.

In his sentencing, Judge Rudolph Contreras wished Coronel luck and said he hopes she raises her children "in a different environment than you've experienced today."

El Chapo

Born in La Tuna, a village in the Sierra Madre mountains, El Chapo rose to prominence in the 1980s while working with Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, according to Reuters.

In the years that followed, he murdered dozens of people and smuggled billions worth of drugs into the United States, becoming one of the most notorious and successful criminals in the world.

"I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats," he bragged to Penn during their interview.

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