The wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was sentenced on Tuesday to three years in prison after pleading guilty to helping her husband run his multi-billion dollar criminal empire.
Emma Coronel Aispuro also helped her husband plan a dramatic escape through a tunnel dug under a Mexican jail in 2015 by smuggling a GPS watch to him disguised as a foodie, prosecutors said during a hearing in federal court in Washington. It helped those digging the tunnel locate his location and reach him. He was recaptured the following year.
Prosecutors had asked for four years in prison, but U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras imposed a shorter deadline, saying her role was a small part of a much larger organization.
Defense attorneys also pointed out she was 17 when she met Guzman and married him on her 18th birthday. “This began when she was a very impressionable minor married to a powerful man more than three decades older,” Jeffrey Lichtman said.
Coronel Aispuro expressed “genuine apology for any and all harm” as she spoke through a Spanish translator in court. “I am here before you, asking for forgiveness,” she said. She asked for a verdict that would allow her to watch her 9-year-old twin daughters grow up.
She has previously pleaded guilty to three federal offenses as part of a prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors. She also donated $ 1.5 million.
The charges include deliberate and intentional conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine for several years. She also pleaded guilty to a charge of money laundering and of having participated in transactions with a foreign drug smuggler.
She helped Guzman get messages to his subordinates while he was in jail, allowing him to retain control of the Sinaloa cartel while behind bars.
“He chose her to move these messages to people who worked for him,” prosecutor Anthony Nardozzi said.
The 32-year-old was arrested in February at Dulles International Airport in Virginia and has been incarcerated ever since.
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