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El Chapo’s beauty queen wife pleads guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering

The beauty queen wife of Mexican drug lord El Chapo faces jail after admitting her role in helping her husband run his multi-billion dollar drug empire.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, on Thursday pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute illegal drugs, conspiring to launder money, and conspiring to assist El Chapo’s Sinaloa drug cartel.

As part of her plea agreement, she also admitted to conspiring to helping her husband escape from a Mexican prison in 2015 during a virtual hearing in Washington DC federal court.

She’ll remain in custody without bond to be sentenced by Judge Rudolph Contreras on September 15.

Glamourous Coronel was arrested at Dulles International Airport in Virginia by US authorities before she was charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana for importation into the US.

Emma was also accused of conspiring to help El Chapo escape from Altiplano prison in Mexico in 2015, and with a second escape attempt the following year.

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But who is the stunning brunette and how did her life become entangled with a man who was once the most powerful drug kingpin in the world, whose Sinaloa cartel was responsible for smuggling huge amounts of drugs into the US over a 25-year period?

Emma met El Chapo, real name Joaquín Guzmán, when she was aged just 18 and competing in a beauty pageant in 2007.

El Chapo was approaching 50 at the time and had travelled to the pageant, held in Canelas, Mexico, with the specific intention of meeting Emma.

The pair would agree to marry that day and she would become the criminal’s fourth wife.El Chapo's glamorous wife Emma Coronel Aispuro was detained by police at Washington Dulles International Airport

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She was born near San Francisco, California, while her mother was visiting relatives there. Emma consequently has dual American-Mexican nationality.

Her dad, Inés Coronel Barreras, is a longtime pal of El Chapo’s and was a high-ranking member of the Sinaloa cartel.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison on April 28, 2017, for drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms.

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Emma Coronel Aispuro exits the US Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn after a hearing in El Chapo's case in New York
Emma Coronel Aispuro exits the US Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn after a hearing in El Chapo’s case in New York
(Image: AFP/Getty Images)

Her brother Édgar Coronel was also arrested on drug charges and accusations he helped with El Chapo’s first prison break. He is currently incarcerated in Mexico.

After Emma and El Chapo married they welcomed twins Maria Joaquina and Emami into the world in August 2011.

The mum is said to have the father’s name blank on the birth certificate in a bid to protect El Chapo’s identity.

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Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka "el Chapo Guzman", was the most wanted by US and Mexican anti-drug agencies
Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka “el Chapo Guzman”, was the most wanted by US and Mexican anti-drug agencies
(Image: AFP/Getty Images)

It took the prolific El Chapo’s child count to at least 11, although estimates for the definitive figure vary.

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The drug lord was arrested by the Mexican authorities in February 2014 before he escaped in July of the following year.

Emma is accused of being among those who helped him escape but El Chapo was arrested again in January 2016.



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Emma Coronel Aispuro is surrounded by security and members of the press as she exits the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in 2019
Emma Coronel Aispuro is surrounded by security and members of the press as she exits the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in 2019
(Image: Getty Images)

He was extradited to the US in January 2017 and two years later, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for murder, money laundering, drug trafficking, racketeering and organized crime.

Dutiful wife Emma sat through the 11-week trial in Brooklyn, but as her husband began his life sentence at a maximum security federal prison in Colorado, she continued living a life of glamour and excess.

She has appeared on reality TV and launched a clothing line that she said is inspired by her and her husband’s style.

But now it is thought she could face up to 10 years in prison.

The indictment against Emma says she grew up with knowledge of the narcotics trafficking industry due to her family’s close ties to the cartel.

Despite El Chapo’s life sentence, the US Drug Enforcement Administration said in March that “the Sinoloa Cartel maintains the widest national influence” in the United States.

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