- Emma Coronel, Wife of El Chapo, Released from US Prison
- El Chapo’s Criminal Empire and Coronel’s Involvement
- Coronel’s Release and Possible Reunion with El Chapo
Emma Coronel, the wife of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, has been released from prison in the United States.
Coronel pled guilty to drug trafficking charges and was sentenced to three years in prison in November 2021, but has been freed early.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has verified her release from custody.
The 34-year-old is believed to have departed a halfway house in California, to which she was transferred from federal prison in June.
Her husband is enduring a life sentence at an Oregon supermax prison.
In a handwritten letter sent last month, he requested that his wife and two daughters be permitted to visit him in the utmost security prison.
In 2019, 66-year-old El Chapo Guzmán was judged guilty of leading the Sinaloa cartel.
US law enforcement officials estimate that the transnational criminal organization based in Mexico smuggled more than one thousand tonnes of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, and opium into the United States.
To consolidate its dominance, the cartel’s hitmen kidnapped, tortured, and murdered members of rival gangs.
Additionally, the Sinaloa cartel bribed police officers and high-ranking legislators in Mexico and throughout Central America to turn a blind eye to drug shipments or even inform the cartel of impending raids.
When Emma Coronel was 17 years old and competing in a local beauty pageant, she first met Guzmán.
Her father, Inés Coronel, was a high-ranking Sinaloa cartel member spending 10 years for drug importation in Mexico.
In 2001, after escaping prison in a laundry cart, Guzmán was running the cartel from numerous hideouts in northern Mexico.
They married when Emma Coronel was 18, although their marriage may not have been registered with the Mexican government.
After a 13-year pursuit, Guzmán was apprehended in 2014 and sent to the Altiplano maximum security prison in Mexico.
After 17 months, Guzmán escaped again on a motorbike on tracks to a nearby warehouse.
Prosecutors asserted at trial that Coronel’s participation in the escape of her spouse was crucial.
She was also accused of acting as a messenger for her husband, both while he was on the run and while he was in prison, relaying orders to his cartel lieutenants and his sons with his previous spouses, known as the Chapitos (Little Chapos).
Guzmán escaped for six months before Mexican special forces caught him outside Los Mochis, Sinaloa, after his 2015 underground escape.
Coronel appeared daily in the Brooklyn courtroom.
She grinned and waved to him from the public gallery, where she was dressed and groomed impeccably.
She told the New York Times that she did not recognize the gruesome testimony given in court about her husband, instead characterizing him as “an outstanding father, friend, brother, son, and partner.”
In February of 2019, when Guzmán was declared guilty, the couple gave each other the thumbs up.
Coronel remained free for nearly two more years until her February 2021 arrest at Dulles Airport near Washington, DC.
She knew her husband’s crimes and “understood the scope of the Sinaloa cartel’s drug trafficking,” the prosecution said.
She admitted to narcotic trafficking and laundering funds.
At her sentencing, Coronel pled for leniency for the sake of her children. “I implore you not to allow them to grow up without a mother,” she pleaded to the judge.
Her three-year prison sentence was subsequently reduced, paving the way for her release today.
Her future is uncertain, but her husband’s letter appealing for her to visit hints she may visit him in Oregon.
Guzmán writes in the letter that the couple’s daughters, who are now 12 years old, are studying in Mexico and can only visit their father two or three times per year during the holidays.