The wife of notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has pleaded guilty to a range of charges including conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs.
Emma Coronel Esboro, 31, pleaded guilty in court in Washington to helping Guzmán run a Sinaloa drug cartel and aiding his escape from prison in 2015.
She could face life imprisonment and a fine of up to $10 million.
Guzmán, 63, is currently serving a life sentence in Colorado for drug trafficking and money laundering.
Authorities say the Sinaloa cartel was the largest supplier of drugs to the United States.
Coronel Esboro appeared in court, wearing a green suit and a white mask, to plead guilty before the judge.
She pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs, conspiracy to launder money and engaging in financial dealings with a Sinaloa drug cartel.
Coronel Esboro – who pleaded guilty to reduced sentence – also admitted that she played a role in her husband’s escape from prison in 2015.
“She’s very happy to get over what happened,” Coronel Esborough’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, said outside the courtroom.
“She did not expect her to be arrested after her husband was sentenced to life in prison, so this is clearly a disturbing time. But we will get through it,” he added.
During Guzmán’s trial in 2019, horrific discoveries about his life were announced, including drugging and raping girls as young as 13, and carrying out cold-blooded murders of former gang members and opponents.
Coronel Esborough, a former beauty queen, was arrested at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. in February and charged with conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, 1 kilogram or more of heroin, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, and 1,000 kilograms or more of cannabis, as well as aiding and abetting the commission of crimes.
Prosecutors accused her of aiding Guzmán in drug trafficking between 2012 and 2014 by transmitting messages and then continuing to deliver messages during his visit in a Mexican prison after his arrest in February 2014.
Guzmán escaped from the maximum security prison in Altiplano in Mexico through a tunnel. His sons bought a property near the prison, and smuggled it using GPS technology, which gave the diggers accurate information about his location. Guzmán escaped with a specially prepared small motorbike through the tunnel.
Court documents said Coronel Esboro was involved in planning her husband’s escape from prison before he was extradited to the United States in January 2017.
Who is Emma Coronel Esboro?
Coronel Esboro is a Mexican-American citizen, beauty pageant winner, journalism student and mother of twins from Guzmán.
According to previous interviews with American media, she first met Gorman at a dance party when she was 17 and he was forty-nine.
She attended almost every day her husband’s three-month trial in New York. At this trial, she heard not only harrowing accounts of murder and rape, but also allegations that he had spied on her and other mistresses.
She was highlighted in the media during that trial.
In one case, she appeared to laugh during the tearful testimony of one of Guzmán’s mistresses.
On another day, she and Guzmán wore similar velvet jackets, which many people interpreted as a show of solidarity.
She remained supportive of Guzmán throughout the trial, saying at the end of the trial: “I don’t know my husband as the person they are trying to show, but I admire him as the person I met and married.”
Coronel Esporo was a teenager when she married Guzmán in 2007. Her father, Ines Coronel Barreras, worked as one of Guzmán’s top aides before he was arrested in Mexico in 2013.
Guzmán came from a poor family in the state of Sinaloa, northwest Mexico. And his organized crime business has grown so much that he was included in the 2009 Forbes list of the richest man in the world, where he was ranked 701 with a fortune estimated at one billion dollars.