Wife of ‘El Chapo’ sentenced to 3 years in prison for role in drug ring

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The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to helping her husband run his multi-billion dollar trafficking operation, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, 32, on Tuesday appeared in federal court and told the judge she was deeply sorry and ashamed, Telemundo reported.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras oversaw the hearing.

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is escorted by soldiers in Mexico on Jan. 8, 2016.Tomas Bravo / Reuters file

Coronel Aispuro pleaded guilty in June to three federal offenses as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors. The charges included knowingly and willfully conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine for several years. She also pleaded guilty to a money-laundering conspiracy charge and to engaging in transactions with a foreign narcotics trafficker.

Contreras also entered a forfeiture money judgment against Coronel Aispuro on Tuesday in the amount of nearly $1.5 million, representing proceeds of and property obtained by her as a result of her drug-trafficking activities, federal officials said in a statement.

Coronel Aispuro’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Coronel Aispuro, from about 2011 to at least Jan. 19, 2017, “was a co-conspirator in the activities of the Sinaloa Cartel,” which was led by her husband, officials said.

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She was taken into custody in February at Dulles International Airport near Washington.

In Spanish, Coronel Aispuro told Contreras on Tuesday she was remorseful for her actions. “I am here before you, asking you for forgiveness,” she said through a court interpreter, according to the report.

Federal prosecutor Anthony Nardozzi said, “While the overall effect of the defendant’s conduct was significant, the defendant’s actual role was a minimal one. The defendant acted primarily in support of her husband.”

He added that after her arrest, she “quickly accepted responsibility for her criminal conduct.”

Coronel Aispuro, a dual U.S.-Mexican citizen, helped Guzmán escape from a maximum-security prison in Mexico in 2015, officials said. She conducted “planning meetings with other co-conspirators and by coordinating the movement of drug proceeds to finance the escape,” federal officials said in Tuesday’s DOJ statement.

After he was caught, she allegedly plotted another escape from the same facility two years later, authorities said.

Guzmán was convicted in 2019 on 10 charges of engaging in a continual criminal enterprise and multiple counts of distributing tons of cocaine in the U.S. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed.

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