Emma Coronel, Wife of Mexican Drug Lord “El Chapo,” Released from US Prison

Los Angeles, CA – Emma Coronel, the wife of Joaquín “El Chapo Guzmán”, the notorious Mexican drug lord, has been released from a US prison. Coronel had previously pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges, resulting in a three-year prison sentence in November 2021, a term later reduced.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has confirmed her release, and it is reported that the 34-year-old departed from a halfway house in California, where she had been relocated from a federal prison in June.

Joaquín Guzmán, known as “El Chapo,” is Qpresently serving a life sentence in a supermax jail in Colorado.

Last month, Guzmán penned a handwritten letter requesting permission for his wife and their two daughters to visit him in the maximum-security prison.

El Chapo Guzmán, aged 66, was convicted in 2019 for his leadership role in the Sinaloa cartel, a Mexico-based transnational criminal organization. US law enforcement authorities estimate that the cartel trafficked over 1,000 tonnes of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, and heroin into the United States.

The Sinaloa cartel, notorious for its ruthless tactics, engaged in activities such as the abduction, torture, and murder of rival gang members to solidify its dominance. Additionally, the cartel was known to bribe police officers and high-ranking politicians in Mexico and Central America to either overlook drug shipments or provide advance notice of impending law enforcement actions.

Emma Coronel first encountered Joaquín Guzmán when she was 17 years old and participated in a local beauty pageant. Her father, Inés Coronel, held a prominent position within the Sinaloa cartel but is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence in Mexico for drug smuggling.

Image Credit; TheGuardian.com @ Photograph: Kevin Hagen/EPA

Despite Guzmán’s incarceration, he continued to oversee cartel operations from concealed locations in northern Mexico, even after his sensational prison escape in a laundry cart in 2001.

Emma Coronel and Joaquín Guzmán formalized their relationship in a ceremony when she was 18. However, whether their marriage was officially registered with Mexican authorities remains uncertain. Notably, Coronel possesses dual US-Mexican citizenship and traveled to California in 2011 to give birth to their twin daughters, granting the children US citizenship.

In 2014, Guzmán was captured following a 13-year manhunt and detained in the Altiplano maximum-security prison in Mexico. Nonetheless, he managed to escape again, this time within 17 months, utilizing an intricate tunnel complete with ventilation systems and a motorcycle on rails connecting his cell to a nearby warehouse.

During her trial, prosecutors contended that Coronel played a pivotal role in her husband’s escape and acted as a messenger, conveying orders to his cartel associates both while he was on the run and incarcerated. She was also accused of communicating with his sons from previous marriages, known as the “Chapitos” (Little Chapos).

After his tunnel escape in 2015, Guzmán evaded capture for six months before Mexican special forces finally apprehended him outside Los Mochis, his hometown in Sinaloa.

Subsequently, he was extradited to the United States and stood trial in New York. Throughout the trial, Emma Coronel attended the court proceedings daily, maintaining an impeccable appearance, often smiling and waving to her husband in the public gallery.

In an interview with the New York Times, she rejected the grim testimony against her husband, describing him as “an excellent father, friend, brother, son, partner.”

Upon Guzmán’s conviction in February 2019, the couple exchanged thumbs-up gestures within the courtroom.

Emma Coronel remained at liberty for nearly two additional years until her arrest at Dulles Airport, near Washington DC, in February 2021. Prosecutors alleged that she was fully aware of her husband’s criminal endeavours and the extent of the Sinaloa cartel’s drug trafficking.

At her sentencing, Coronel implored for leniency on behalf of her children, appealing, “I beg you to not allow them to grow up without the presence of a mother,” addressing the judge.

Initially, she received a three-year prison sentence, which was subsequently reduced, culminating in her release.

The future plans of Emma Coronel remain uncertain, but her husband’s plea for her to visit him suggests potential travel to Colorado to meet him. In his letter, Joaquín Guzmán expressed concern that their daughters, presently 12 years old, could only visit him during holidays, limiting their visits to two or three times per year at most due to their ongoing studies in Mexico.