Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, was arrested at Dulles International Airport on charges of conspiracy to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin, five kilograms or more of cocaine, 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana and 500 grams or more of methamphetamines for illegal importation into the country , according to a press release from the Justice Department.
According to a criminal complaint, “there is likely reason to believe that Coronel knowingly, intentionally, and intentionally conspired with Guzmán and others” to distribute drugs from at least 2014 and at least January 19, 2017. The complaint states that the FBI believes she had received messages from Guzmán to his lieutenants, colleagues and four sons before and while El Chapo was in a Mexican prison.
Coronel, a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico, is expected to appear via video conference in the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC on Tuesday.
Prosecutors said Coronel plotted with others to help her husband escape a prison in Mexico on July 11, 2015. After Guzmán was arrested again in Mexico in January 2016, his wife is said to have planned another escape from prison before extraditing him to the United States in January 2017.
Guzmán, who, according to prosecutors, ran a global drug empire that was marked by corruption and violence for decades, was convicted after a trial in 2019 and given a life sentence of 30 years in federal prison.
Jeffrey Lichtman and Mariel Colon told CNN that they represent Coronel.
“We are currently only trying to reach the full scope of the government’s allegations,” said Colon.
Lichtman told CNN he had no comment.
After Guzmán’s third arrest in 2016, he was under close surveillance. He was taken to New York, where he remained during his trial and sentencing.
The security surrounding Guzmán’s trial was so strict that the Brooklyn Bridge was closed every week so that Guzmán could be brought in a motorcade – complete with helicopter escort – from a federal prison to the Brooklyn courthouse for his months-long trial.
While Guzmán was on trial, communications were limited to members of his legal team and sister, with occasional visits from his twin daughters. He wasn’t allowed to see Coronel.
After being convicted by a jury, he signed the rights to his name so that Coronel, a former beauty queen with an interest in fashion, could start an El Chapo clothing line.
She was regularly present at her husband’s trial and was often inundated by the media covering her fashion choices in court. And one day she and Guzmán were wearing matching velvet jackets. He is expected to serve his sentence in the safest federal prison in the country in Florence, Colorado.
Guzmán and Coronel have been married since 2007. The FBI alleges in the complaint that her father Ines was a member of the Guzmán drug cartel.
CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Maria Santana, Sonia Moghe and Jay Croft contributed to this report.