El Chapo’s Wife to Be Released After Nearly Two Years in Prison

Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of the infamous Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo, is expected to be released from a halfway house on Wednesday, almost two years after she was sentenced to prison for her role in her husband’s multibillion-dollar criminal empire and participating in his escape from custody in 2015.

Ms. Coronel, 34, was scheduled to be released from a residential re-entry facility in Long Beach, Calif., according to federal prison records.

It was unclear what she had planned upon her release or if additional conditions would be imposed. A lawyer for Ms. Coronel declined to comment on Wednesday.

Ms. Coronel was transferred earlier this year to the halfway house from a federal prison in Texas after serving about 18 months there, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Ms. Coronel, a former beauty queen who married El Chapo, whose real name is Joaquín Guzmán Loera, in 2007, on her 18th birthday, was sentenced to three years in prison in November 2021.

Several months earlier, she had pleaded guilty to helping Mr. Guzmán smuggle drugs across the U.S. border and break out of prison in 2015. His escape from the most secure wing of the most secure prison in Mexico drew widespread attention, in part because it involved a mile-long tunnel that was equipped with lighting, ventilation and a motorcycle on rails. Mr. Guzmán was recaptured six months later and was extradited to the United States.

During Mr. Guzmán’s trial, Ms. Coronel exhibited unwavering loyalty to her husband while dozens of witnesses painted him as a vengeful drug trafficker. “I don’t know my husband as the person they are trying to show him as,” Ms. Coronel told The New York Times in early 2019. “But rather I admire him as the human being that I met, and the one that I married.”

Shortly after, Mr. Guzmán was convicted of drug conspiracy charges and was sentenced to life in prison.

Ms. Coronel’s case was far simpler. Under her plea deal, she agreed to turn over about $1.5 million in illicit proceeds from her husband’s illegal operations. Although she admitted to helping her husband move at least 450 kilograms of cocaine, 90 kilograms of heroin and nearly 90,000 kilograms of marijuana into the United States over the years, she received a relatively light sentence.

A federal prosecutor said Ms. Coronel, despite her activity, was not an organizer or leader of the operation, calling her a cog in a large wheel of a criminal organization.

Ms. Coronel has captured the public’s imagination and interest in part because of her lavish lifestyle and social media habits. She was a fixture at her husband’s trial and was regularly surrounded by television cameras and publicity handlers.

A verified Instagram account bearing her name has not had any activity since December 2020.

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