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Wife of notorious ‘El Chapo’ pleads guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering

By Elizabeth Hearst for AMLi

The wife of notorious Mexican drug kingpin, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering. 

Emma Coronel Aispuro, admitted assisting her husband with the day-to-day running of the Sinaloa drugs cartel, and assisting with his infamous prison escape in 2015.

Appearing in federal court in Washington D.C. Wednesday, Ms Coronel Aispuro pled guilty to three counts of conspiring to distribute illegal drugs, conspiring to launder money, conspiring to assist the Sinaloa drug cartel and assisting Guzmán with his prison escape in 2015 . 

Ms Coronel Aispuro was arrested in February at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, and has been in custody ever since. She could face life behind bars, and a multi-million dollar fine of $10 Million if convicted.

Her attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman said that she was “very happy to put this behind her”, adding that “she didn’t expect to get arrested after her husband received life in prison”. The court case was described as a “troubling time” for Ms Coronel Aispuro, 31.

It is alleged that Ms Coronel Aispuro “worked closely with the command-and-control structure” of the Sinaloa cartel. Ms Coronel Aispuro is alleged to have “aided and abetted” the Sinaloa cartel. However, the defence argued that Ms Coronel Aispuro was a “very minimal participant”.  

Ms Coronel Aispuro was also said to have assisted in her husband’s escape from prison, after it emerged she reportedly conspired with Guzmán’s sons to “plan and coordinate” his escapes. 

During a US trial In 2019, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was found guilty on all charges, and the 61-year-old was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years, and ordered to forfeit more than $12.6 Billion. 

The three-month trial, dubbed the “trial of the century” saw 56 witnesses brought by the Prosecution, while the Defence could only muster one. 

The Sinaloa cartel reportedly rakes in more than $11 Billion in annual sales to the US, with the Guardian reporting that American’s spend around $109 Billion on illegal drugs each year. 

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