Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of Mexican drug cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, appears before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather and her lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman during a virtual hearing in federal court in Washington, D.C., February 23, 2021 in this courtroom sketch.
Jane Rosenberg | Reuters
WASHINGTON – A federal judge ordered the wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to remain temporarily detained after her arrest at Dulles International Airport on drug charges.
Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the United States.
She faces a minimum of 10 years in prison or a maximum of life in prison and a potential fine of $10 million dollars.
Coronel, a former beauty queen, has twin daughters with the Sinaloa cartel boss.
The Justice Department also accused her of running her husband’s multibillion-dollar cartel. She is a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico.
Emma Coronel Aispuro, wife of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, is escorted by security as she leaves federal court, July 17, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images
The Justice Department accused Coronel of helping her husband pull off a Houdini-like escape from a Mexican prison in 2015.
The Sinaloa cartel boss escaped from a maximum-security prison in July 2015 after slipping through a hole in the shower area of his cell.
The 1 1/2 foot by 1 1/2 foot gap in the shower floor led to a custom-built tunnel nearly 30 feet below underneath the Altiplano prison complex. The tunnel was 5 feet high and nearly 3 feet wide and equipped with a ventilation system.
A view of the tunnel through which according to the authorities Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman escaped from Mexican Maximum Security Prison of ‘El Altiplano’ on July 15, 2015 in Mexico City, Mexico.
Manuel Velasquez | LatinContent WO | Getty Images
According to a witness that is now working with the U.S. government, Coronel helped organize the construction of the elaborate escape tunnel with Guzmáns sons.
The 2015 escape was the second time Mexican authorities lost custody of Guzmán.
The farmhand turned powerful cartel leader first escaped from prison in 2001. He managed to evade capture for 13 years.
After more than six months on the run, Guzmán was captured again in 2016 by Mexican authorities.
Joaquin Guzman Loera, also known as “El Chapo” is transported to Maximum Security Prison of El Altiplano in Mexico City, Mexico on January 8, 2016.
Daniel Cardenas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Following his 2016 arrest, the witness told U.S. authorities that Coronel provided a Mexican official with $2 million to oversee Guzmán’s transfer from one prison to another.
According to U.S. attorneys, Coronel ordered the transfer so that a new escape could be facilitated. The drug boss was never transferred. A year later, he was extradited to the United States. After a three-month trial in 2019, the narco kingpin was sentenced to life in prison.