A US judge on Tuesday sentenced Emma Coronel Aispuro, wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, to three years in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering.
The sentence was less than the relatively light four years requested by prosecutors, with the judge acknowledging Coronel was just a teenage girl when she married the ruthless drug czar and she easily pleaded guilty after her arrest in February 2021 .
With long hair and dressed in a dark suit and white turtleneck shirt, Coronel, a 32-year-old former beauty queen, apologized to the court.
“I express my real regrets for all the harm I have done,” she said in Spanish before the conviction was announced.
“I am in pain because of the pain I have caused my family.”
She asked the judge to allow her to raise her nine-year-old twins.
“They are already growing up without a parent present,” she said.
“Please do not allow them to grow up without their mother’s presence.”
“Minimal” role in the cartel
The judge said she would also pay $ 1.5 million as part of a pre-hearing restitution agreement, and that she would be given credit for the nine months already spent behind bars since her arrest.
Prosecutors and his defense attorneys described Coronel as not being involved in the core business of the Guzman cartel in Sinaloa, which shipped hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs. in the United States, according to the United States Department of Justice.
“The actual role of the accused was minimal,” said prosecutor Anthony Nardozzi.
“The accused was not a leader, an organizer, a boss or any other type of manager. Rather, she was a cog in a very large wheel of a criminal organization,” he told the court.
But the prosecution also noted that Coronel played a key role in helping her husband escape a Mexican prison in 2015.
Nonetheless, said Nardozzi, “the accused chose to take responsibility for her actions” immediately after her arrest.
On handing down his sentence, Judge Rudolph Contreras wished Coronel good luck.
“I hope you are raising your twins in a different environment from what you have experienced so far,” he told her.
Kissing her husband
Thirty-two years younger than her husband, Coronel met him in her mid teens and they were married when she was 18.
Coronel became the object of intense fascination when she regularly joined the public during her trial in New York after her extradition from Mexico in 2017.
Tall, with long dark hair, tight clothes, and lots of makeup, Coronel would smile at Guzman and send him kisses as she attended the trial almost every day for three months, sometimes bringing their daughters over for them to see. their father.
Guzman was sentenced in July 2019 to life imprisonment.
Despite her proximity to one of the world’s most notorious drug traffickers, she was able to enter and exit the United States freely until arrested upon arrival at Dulles International Airport in the outside Washington in February 2021.
Months later, she pleaded guilty to all three counts of trafficking and money laundering brought against her.
Outside the courthouse on Tuesday, Coronel’s attorney Jeffrey Lichtman rebuffed reports that she had cooperated with government investigators investigating drug trafficking, information he said had had him. left in danger of retaliation.
Because she had no criminal record and easily admitted her guilt, skipping a trial, Lichtman said, the Justice Department’s sentencing guidelines called for a relatively short prison term.
“The guidelines were so low that there was no need to cooperate,” he said.
“She will be released from prison in 18 months,” he predicted.
(This story was not edited by DAILYNEWSCATCH staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)