NEW YORK – Emma Coronel, the wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, is expected to appear in federal court Tuesday afternoon in Washington, D.C. She was arrested yesterday in the state of Virginia and faces drug trafficking charges, the US Department of Justice reported.
Coronel, 31, who is a Mexican and American citizen, was detained at Dulles International Airport. She was transferred Monday night to the Alexandria, Virginia Detention Center and is expected to appear Tuesday by video conference for an initial hearing before a District of Columbia judge. Her attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, declined to comment Monday night.
Coronel is not only accused of participating in a criminal association to traffic cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin and marijuana, but the United States also accuses her of having joined others to help Guzmán escape from the Altiplano prison, in Almoloya de Juárez, Mexico, in July 2015, it is indicated in the text.
After Guzmán was re-arrested in Mexico in January 2016, Coronel allegedly again planned, along with others, another escape attempt for her husband. Guzmán, however, was extradited to the United States in January 2017.
Coronel appeared every day at her husband’s drug trafficking trial – held in New York’s Eastern District Court – in late 2018 and the first two months of 2019, and was caught on camera every time she entered or left the building of the court, in Brooklyn. Guzmán was sentenced to life in prison due to his role as leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.
According to an affidavit issued by Eric McGuire, an FBI agent, and released by the Department of Justice, from 2012 to 2014 Coronel passed messages from Guzmán to other cartel members to continue drug trafficking activities while he evaded Mexican authorities. .
Following the arrest of “El Chapo” in February 2014, Coronel continued to pass on the messages her husband gave him when she visited him in prison, McGuire wrote. Mexican authorities did not monitor the visits, the agent said.
“I believe Coronel acted as a messenger between Guzmán and his soldiers, associates and children,” McGuire wrote. “I also understand that Guzmán continued to direct the drug trafficking activities of the Sinaloa Cartel from the Altiplano prison through various individuals, including Coronel.”
The FBI agent bases his accusations in part on the statements of a witness whom he calls “Collaborating Witness 1”. McGuire says that after the arrest of “El Chapo” in January 2016, Coronel gave the witness $ 100,000 and told him to buy property near the Altiplano prison. The witness would end up receiving a million dollars to carry out the escape plan, says McGuire.
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