El Chapo's Wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, Gets 3 Years in Prison for Helping Her Husband Run the Sinaloa Cartel
Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, was sentenced to three years in prison for helping her husband run his multibillion-dollar drug empire.
Coronel Aispuro pleaded guilty in June to charges in relation to conspiring to launder money and engaging in financial dealings with the Sinaloa cartel, ABC News reported.
El Chapo's wife also admitted to conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana for import into the U.S. for several years. She also admitted to helping her husband escape from a Mexican prison.
As part of her plea agreement, El Chapo's wife admitted acting as a courier between his husband and other members of the Sinaloa cartel, while El Chapo was being held in Altiplano prison in Mexico following a 2014 arrest.
In a Washington court on Tuesday, Judge Rudolph Contreras also ordered El Chapo's wife to forfeit $1.5 million tied to her criminal activities and serve four years of supervised release when she leaves prison.
During the sentencing on Tuesday, a Justice Department prosecutor told the court that El Chapo's wife "was not an organizer, leader, boss, or other type of manager," calling her the "cog" in a huge criminal machine.
According to federal prosecutor Anthony Nardozzi, Coronel Aispuro's actual role was minimal, acting primarily in support of her husband. He added that El Chapo's wife "quickly accepted responsibility for her criminal conduct" after she was arrested.
Coronel Aispuro, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter, asked for forgiveness. She said she truly regrets "all harm that I may have done."
The 32-year-old former beauty queen also begged the court not to allow her daughters "to grow up without the presence of a mother."
Coronel Aispuro has been in U.S. federal custody since February when she was arrested at Dulles International Airport in Virginia.
When this case was presented in court last February, Judge Robin Meriweather said if El Chapo's wife is found guilty, she could face a maximum sentence of life in prison with a $10 million fine.
U.S prosecutors earlier asked the court to sentence Coronel Aispuro to four years in prison in relation to the drug distribution and money laundering charges. According to BBC, the prosecutors agreed to a shorter sentence after she expressed remorse.
Emma Coronel Aispuro Refuses to Testify Against the Sinaloa Cartel
Emma Coronel Aispuro's lawyer earlier said her client has refused to provide information to U.S. authorities in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Attorney Mariel Colon told Univision that this was because her client feared for the safety of her twin 10-year-old daughters.
Colon said El Chapo's wife instead opted to seek the "safety valve" exception, which requires her to meet a series of guidelines that could allow her not to spend more than seven years in prison.
Colon noted that her client has two girls in Mexico, and "it is very well known what happens to cooperators or to the family of collaborators."
According to Colon, El Chapo's wife meets the "safety valve" exception requirements, adding that they were confident that she could qualify for it.
The "safety valve" is an exception to mandatory minimum sentencing laws. It allows a judge to sentence a person below the mandatory minimum term if certain conditions are met.
This law only applies in drug-related cases and when offenders pose a "lesser threat" to public safety. Its goal is to save taxpayer money and reduce overcrowding in the U.S. prison system.
El Chapo's Wife and The Sinaloa Cartel
As the wife of El Chapo, the complaint filed against Emma Coronel Aispuro said she understood the scope of the Sinaloa cartel's drug trafficking, CNBC reported.
Before her sentencing, former DEA chief of international operations Mike Vigil told CNBC that Coronel Aispuro can provide a lot of information such as "the drug routes, the sources of supply for cocaine, corrupt public officials, (and other) members of the Sinaloa cartel."
Vigil added that El Chapo's wife also "knows where all the bodies are buried," and "she can do a lot of damage to the Sinaloa cartel."
The Sinaloa cartel is considered to be one of the most powerful drug-trafficking syndicates in the world. The Mexican drug cartel has been known to carry out assassinations, murders, and torture to protect its turf.
The group was founded in the late 1980s and headed by El Chapo. Under El Chapo's leadership, the Sinaloa cartel earned its reputation through violence and outfought several rival groups.
El Chapo was arrested and sentenced to more than 20 years in prison in 1993. He escaped from prison in 2001 and was apprehended again in 2014 in Sinaloa, Mexico.
The Sinaloa cartel boss again escaped from prison through a tunnel the following year. In January 2016, Mexican officials announced that El Chapo has been captured again. He was extradited to the U.S. the next year.
El Chapo was sentenced to spend the rest of his days in the ADX Florence "supermax" prison after being sentenced to life imprisonment in 2019.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by: Mary Webber
WATCH: Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman's Wife Emma Coronel Aispuro Sentenced to 3 years in US prison - From ABC7
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