Wife of drug kingpin ‘El Chapo’ pleads guilty to US charges

Jun 10, 2021, 7:29 PM | Updated: Jun 11, 2021, 8:05 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman pleaded guilty Thursday to charges in the U.S. and admitted that she helped her husband run his multibillion-dollar criminal empire.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, wearing a green jail uniform, appeared in federal court in Washington and pleaded guilty to three federal offenses as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

The charges include 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.

The 31-year-old was arrested in February at Dulles International Airport in Virginia and has been jailed since then.

“She is very happy to put this behind her,” Coronel Aispuro’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, said outside the courthouse. “She didn’t expect to get arrested after her husband received life in prison. So, this is obviously a troubling time. But we’re going to get past it.”

Prosecutors have alleged 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 U.S.

As Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Guzman ran 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 “hit men,” was under orders to kidnap, torture and kill anyone who got in his way.

The prosecutor, Anthony Nardozzi, said his wife had “aided and abetted” the Sinaloa cartel’s objectives to smuggle drugs into the U.S. and helped to import more than 450,000 kilograms of cocaine, 90,000 kilograms of heroin, 45,000 kilograms of methamphetamine and about 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 larger thing,” he said

Her arrest earlier this year was a surprise in part because authorities had made no move to arrest her over 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 breaks in Mexico.

Nardozzi said Coronel Aispuro “served as a go-between” to deliver messages to cartel members after her husband was arrested and also conspired with Guzman’s sons to “plan and coordinate” his prison escapes.

Coronel Aispuro listened quietly as prosecutors described how they could prove her illegal activity if she chose to go to trial.

“Yes,” she said through a translator, when asked by the judge if she had actually committed the crimes the government described.

Litchman said his client did not agree to cooperate with federal investigators but hoped she would receive below a statutory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison when she is due back in court in September for sentencing.

___

Associated Press journalists Dan Huff and Nathan Ellgren contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Oldest Magellanic penguin at San Francisco Zoo dies at 40

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The oldest Magellanic penguin at the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens — one of the oldest penguins living under human care anywhere in the world — died Wednesday at the age of 40, the zoo reported. The estimated age of the male, called Captain Eo, was well over the species’ average […]
21 hours ago
Cherelle Griner, Brittney Griner's wife, talks prior to a rally for Phoenix Mercury WNBA basketball...
Associated Press

Mercury hold public rally in support of Brittney Griner

PHOENIX (AP) — They shared laughs, smiles, memories. There also were tears, fears, unease. Through the range of emotions, one common thread bonded them together: Brittney Griner. Wearing “BG” shirts and holding signs, several hundred fans gathered for a public rally in support of Griner on Wednesday, hoping their sentiments would reach the WNBA player […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin addresses the court as Hennepin County Judge...
Associated Press

Ex-cop Chauvin to get federal sentence for Floyd’s killing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Derek Chauvin will learn his sentence Thursday for violating George Floyd’s civil rights, with a deal in place that would extend the former Minneapolis police officer’s time behind bars while shifting him to possibly more favorable conditions in a federal prison. Chauvin agreed to a sentence of 20 to 25 years in […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Detroit officer, gun-wielding suspect dead after shooting

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit police officer and a man wielding an assault-style weapon were fatally shot on the city’s west side Wednesday night, Detroit police Chief James White said. White said the officer and his partner responded about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to a call of a man firing a weapon. He said when the […]
21 hours ago
FILE - The Pfizer logo is displayed at the company's headquarters, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York. The F...
Associated Press

US allows pharmacists to prescribe Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pharmacists can prescribe the leading COVID-19 pill directly to patients under a new U.S. policy announced Wednesday that’s intended to expand use of Pfizer’s drug Paxlovid. The Food and Drug Administration said pharmacists can begin screening patients to see if they are eligible for Paxlovid and then prescribe the medication, which has […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Reports: Law enforcement officers shoot man on W.Va. highway

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — Several law enforcement authorities shot a man on a federal highway in West Virginia, news outlets reported Wednesday, and video of the shooting was circulating on social media. Authorities did not release details or respond to requests for more information. In the video, the man walks onto the four-lane freeway near […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Wife of drug kingpin ‘El Chapo’ pleads guilty to US charges