The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been arrested on international drug trafficking charges at an airport in Virginia

Davies

Dark-haired woman wearing coat followed by crowd

The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been arrested on international drug trafficking charges at an airport in Virginia, in the United States.

Key points:

  • Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the US
  • The US Justice Department also accused her of helping her husband escape from a Mexican prison in 2015 and 2017
  • Coronel Aispuro regularly attended her husband’s trial when he was eventually captured

Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, who is a dual citizen of the US and Mexico, was arrested at Dulles International Airport and was expected to appear in federal court in Washington DC on Tuesday, local time.

She was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the US.

The US Justice Department also accused her of helping Guzman escape from a Mexican prison in 2015 and participating in the planning of a second prison escape before Guzman was extradited to the US in January 2017.

Once Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Guzman escaped through an entry under the shower in his cell to a 1.6 kilometre-long, lighted tunnel with a motorcycle on rails.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted as he arrives in New York.

Despite elaborate escapes from jail, the law eventually caught up with Guzman.(Reuters)

The planning for the escape was extensive, prosecutors said, with his wife playing a key role.

A woman wearing sunglasses looks straight ahead as she is photographed by media, who are reflected in her glasses.

Coronel Aispuro married Guzman in a lavish ceremony in Mexico and attended his trial.(Reuters: Brendan McDermid)

Court papers said Coronel Aispuro worked with Guzman’s sons and a witness, who is now cooperating with the US government, to organise the construction of the underground tunnel.

Guzman used it to escape from the Altiplano prison in Mexico in order to avoid extradition to the US.

The plot included purchasing a piece of land near the prison, firearms and an armoured truck and smuggling him a GPS watch so they could “pinpoint his exact whereabouts so as to construct the tunnel with an entry point accessible to him”, the court papers said.

Guzman was sentenced to life behind bars in 2019.

His Sinaloa cartel was responsible for smuggling mountains of cocaine and other drugs into the US during his 25-year reign, prosecutors said.

They also said his “army of sicarios”, or “hit men”, was under orders to kidnap, torture and kill anyone who got in his way.

The tunnel beneath a shower that ‘El Chapo’ used to escape(Gfycat)

Coronel Aispuro regularly attended Guzman’s trial, even when testimony cast her in a harsh light.

She remains in custody.

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