WASHINGTON (AP) – The wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges in the United States and admitted she helped her husband run his multibillion-dollar criminal empire. dollars.
Emma Coronel Aispuro, dressed in a green prison uniform, appeared in federal court in Washington and pleaded guilty to three federal offenses under a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
The charges include a conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine for several years. She also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and dealings with a foreign drug trafficker.
The 31-year-old was arrested in February at Dulles International Airport in Virginia and has been in jail since then.
“She’s very happy to put this behind her,” Coronel Aispuro’s lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman said outside the courthouse. “She didn’t expect to be arrested after her husband was sentenced to life in prison. So this is obviously a troubling time. But we’ll get through it. “
Prosecutors alleged that Coronel Aispuro “worked closely with the command and control structure” of the Sinaloa cartel and conspired to distribute large quantities of drugs, knowing they would be smuggled into the United States.
As Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Guzman led a cartel responsible for smuggling cocaine and other drugs into the United States during his 25-year reign, prosecutors say. They also said his “army of sicarios” or “contract killers” had been ordered to kidnap, torture and kill anyone who stood in their way.
Prosecutor Anthony Nardozzi said his wife “aided and abetted” the Sinaloa cartel targets to bring drugs into the United States and helped import more than 450,000 kilograms of cocaine, 90,000 kilograms of cocaine. heroin, 45,000 kilograms of methamphetamine and approximately 90,000 kilograms of marijuana.
Lichtman insisted that Coronel Aispuro was a “very minimal participant” in the drug empire. “She was a very small part of this much bigger thing,” he said.
Her arrest earlier this year came as a surprise in part because authorities had done nothing to arrest her for the past two years, even after she was implicated in her husband’s crimes. During Guzman’s trial in 2019, prosecutors said she helped orchestrate Guzman’s two prison escapes in Mexico.
Nardozzi said Coronel Aispuro “served as an intermediary” to deliver messages to cartel members after her husband’s arrest and also conspired with Guzman’s sons to “plan and coordinate” his prison escapes.
Coronel Aispuro quietly listened to prosecutors describe how they could prove her illegal activity if she chose to go to trial.
“Yes,” she replied through a translator, when the judge asked her if she had actually committed the crimes described by the government.
Litchman said her client had not agreed to cooperate with federal investigators, but hoped she would receive a minimum legal sentence of 10 years in prison when she is due back in court in September for her conviction.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up to become a Founding Member and help shape the next chapter of HuffPost