Wife of Mexico cartel chief ‘El Chapo’ arrested on drug charges

(REUTERS): Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of Mexico’s most notorious cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, has been arrested in Virginia over her alleged involvement in international drug trafficking, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

In a statement, the US justice department said that Coronel – who is a joint US-Mexican citizen – was arrested at Dulles international airport and was scheduled to make her initial appearance in federal court today (Tuesday) via video conference.

A lawyer for Coronel could not immediately be identified. It was unclear why Coronel was in the Washington area. According to court documents, Coronel is charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana for importation into the US.

She has also been charged with allegedly conspiring to help arrange Guzmán’s escape through a mile-long tunnel from the high-security Altiplano prison in Mexico in July 2015.

Coronel’s arrest came two years after a trial in Brooklyn where Guzman was convicted of trafficking tons of drugs into the United States as Sinaloa’s leader. He was sentenced in July 2019 to life in prison plus 30 years. Guzman was sent to ADX Florence in Colorado.

U.S. and Mexican efforts to fight drug trafficking became strained in October when the U.S. Justice Department brought drug charges against former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos.

The Justice Department unexpectedly dropped that case the following month and let Cienfuegos return to Mexico, a move Mexico said would restore trust in the countries’ strained security ties.