El Chapo’s spouse goes from obscurity to movie star to arrest

CULIACAN, Mexico (AP) — Regardless of her standing because the spouse of the world’s most infamous drug boss, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Emma Coronel Aispuro lived principally in obscurity — till her husband went to jail for all times.

Then, abruptly, she was a presence on social media. There was speak of launching a vogue line. Even an look on a actuality present devoted to the households of drug traffickers.

Coronel’s actions didn’t go unnoticed. And within the wake of her arrest Monday on fees that she had conspired to distribute medication, there have been those that puzzled: In embracing the limelight, had Coronel put a goal on her personal again?

Her habits was notable partially as a result of she had lived a comparatively sheltered life till her half in a grueling trial that drew worldwide consideration. However her actions violated unwritten guidelines about relations, particularly wives, protecting a low profile.

Till the trial, “Emma had remained nameless like virtually all of companions of Sinaloa cartel capos,” mentioned Adrián López, govt editor of Sinaloa’s Noroeste newspaper. Then, “she begins to tackle extra of a celeb perspective. … This breaks a practice of secrecy and a method particularly inside the management of the Sinaloa cartel.”

Late final 12 months, the Mexican investigative journalist Anabel Hernández — who has written extensively in regards to the Sinaloa cartel, together with a 2019 e book in regards to the diary of cartel chief Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada’s son — mentioned a supply instructed her that Coronel’s mom, Blanca Aispuro, was apprehensive in regards to the flip her daughter’s life was taking.

Concern was additionally constructing amongst Guzmán’s sons and Sinaloa cartel chief Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, mentioned Hernández, who was the primary journalist to ever interview Emma Coronel.

“Her mom was additionally apprehensive that an enemy cartel may hurt Emma as a result of she was unleashed, was out on the street quite a bit, the golf equipment, extreme in her social life,” Hernández mentioned the supply instructed her. “Her mom apprehensive one thing like that would occur or she may turn into a goal of the federal government.”


Guzmán has been married quite a few occasions; as was made clear in his trial in New York, he has been removed from devoted. Sitting within the courtroom, Coronel heard a girl testify to how she and Guzmán made a dramatic escape from a middle-of-the-night raid on certainly one of his hideouts by Mexican marines.

She described hopping away from bed, finding a secret hatch and operating via a drainage tunnel, a unadorned Guzmán main the best way.

“Generally I liked him and generally I didn’t,” the lady mentioned, tearfully.

Coronel was there every day smiling, blowing kisses to Guzmán, “however in actuality they inform me that Emma was very, very mad and really harm,” Hernández mentioned. “And so, when the trial ended she determined to take revenge and the best way to get revenge was to make her husband see what he was dropping.”

Coronel, 31, was born in San Francisco, however grew up within the mountains of Durango bordering Guzmán’s Sinaloa state in an impoverished space referred to as the Golden Triangle.

She and Guzmán married in 2007 when she 18 years previous. He was 50 and one of many world’s strongest drug traffickers. “I don’t think about she actually had many choices to say no, I gained’t marry you,” Hernández mentioned.

For a time, Coronel’s father, Ines Coronel Barreras, allegedly took cost of transferring the Sinaloa cartel’s marijuana throughout the border into Arizona. In 2013, he was arrested with certainly one of his sons and different males in a warehouse with weapons and tons of of kilos of marijuana throughout the border from Douglas, Arizona

For years, Emma Coronel’s solely public picture was {a photograph} from 2007, when she was topped the sweetness queen of the pageant in Canelas, the city the place she grew up. She wore an unlimited crown and a closed mouth smile, and regarded instantly on the digicam.

After their wedding ceremony, she disappeared from public view till it was reported in 2011 that she had given delivery to their twin daughters in Los Angeles County. On Feb. 22, 2014, she was with Guzmán and their daughters within the Pacific resort city of Mazatlan when he was captured by Mexican marines.

Guzmán was despatched to the utmost safety Altiplano jail outdoors Mexico Metropolis whereas his legal professionals fought his extradition. On July 11, 2015, Guzmán escaped via a milelong tunnel that had been dug to the bathe in his cell.

In January 2016, Mexican marines recaptured Guzman in Los Mochis, Sinaloa. The following month, Coronel gave her first ever interview to Hernández, complaining repeatedly in regards to the situations through which Guzmán was being held.

Coronel instructed Hernández she had realized of his escape from the Altiplano jail from tv.

“If I had recognized one thing I wouldn’t have been in a position to sleep or eat from desperation,” she mentioned. “I had no thought.”

Guzmán was extradited to the USA — however not earlier than Coronel was concerned in planning yet one more escape try that by no means got here to fruition, U.S. prosecutors say.

Coronel and her designer wardrobe made a splash on the El Chapo trial. Photographers elbowed one another to seize her arrivals and departures.

At one level, she wore a burgundy velvet blazer that matched one she had despatched to Guzmán to put on that day. Afterward, she commissioned a courtroom artist to recreate the present of solidarity — a memento.

Coronel strode the courtroom confidently. She performed along with her hair whereas ready for proceedings to begin and chatted amicably with reporters sitting behind her. She carried crackers and cookies in her purse, generally providing snacks to reporters.

Each morning, Guzmán sought her out as he entered the courtroom. He smiled and waved hiya.

Sooner or later she chatted and laughed within the courtroom with Mexican actor Alejandro Edda, who performed Guzmán within the Netflix collection “Narcos: México.” Within the trial’s sixth week, she introduced her 7-year-old twin daughters, wearing matching denims and white jackets; their father clapped to them softly, as if to play with them.

After Guzmán was convicted — he can be despatched away for all times plus 30 years — Coronel posted a press release thanking Guzmán’s attorneys, and her mom and sister for taking good care of the twins whereas she was attending the trial.

She mentioned the trial had been troublesome. Her identify had come up in testimony: Dámaso López, certainly one of Guzmán’s former lieutenants, testified that he met a number of occasions with Coronel and Guzman’s sons to plan the drug boss’ escape from the Altiplano jail. And he mentioned Coronel had relayed messages from her husband.

Coronel was unrepentant. “What I can solely say about that’s that I’ve nothing to be ashamed of,” she wrote. “I’m not excellent however I contemplate myself a very good human being and I’ve by no means harm anybody deliberately.”


López, the editor of Noroeste, and Ismael Bojórquez, editor of Riodoce, a news outlet recognized for its investigations into Sinaloa’s underworld, each expressed shock that Coronel had traveled to and from the U.S. after the trial.

Hernández suspects U.S. authorities seen Coronel’s change in way of life and noticed a chance to strain her at a second when she could also be extra open to betraying her husband.

Though Coronel has posted solely 5 pictures on Instagram (@therealemmacoronel), she has greater than 563,000 followers.

For her final photograph, posted in December, she posed in a white wedding ceremony gown, a part of a vogue assortment. And for a photograph posted on her July birthday, she was resplendent in crimson lipstick, a black leather-based jacket — and a crown in her lengthy, darkish hair, an echo of the small-town magnificence queen she was so way back.

“Blissful birthday to me,” she wrote.


Torrens reported from New York and Sherman from Mexico Metropolis. AP writers Tom Hays in New York and E. Eduardo Castillo in Mexico Metropolis contributed to this report.

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