The beauty queen wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman will remain behind bars for now on federal charges that she played an integral role in her husband’s sprawling drug trafficking operation, a judge ordered Tuesday.
Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, who was arrested at Dulles airport Monday, will be able to argue for her release on bail in the future, but will remain locked up for the time being, Washington, D.C., federal Judge Robin Meriweather ordered at her initial hearing Tuesday.
At the virtual hearing, Assistant US Attorney Anthony Nardozzi said Coronel “worked closely with Sinaloa Cartel … most notably with her husband Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the leader of the cartel prior to his extradition to the United States.”
A mugshot of the brunette bombshell released Monday showed her looking solemn, and she remained largely silent during the court proceeding — except to tell the judge she understood what was being said.
“I understood everything very well, thank you,” she said through a Spanish translator.
Her defense attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, said she consented to pretrial detainment.
Coronel faces life in prison on drug trafficking charges that allege she conspired with her husband to traffic more than a kilo of heroin, five or more kilos of cocaine, 500 grams of meth and more than 1,000 kilos of marijuana.
She was arrested at the airport in Northern Virginia Monday and is locked up at a local jail in Alexandria that houses federal inmates for the US Marshal Service, a spokesperson for the local sheriff’s office said.
Nardozzi said at Monday’s hearing that she has no ties to the area — and it’s unclear why she was at the airport when she was arrested.
In addition to the drug trafficking conspiracy, federal authorities accused Coronel of helping her husband orchestrate her hubby’s elaborate July 11, 2015, escape from Altiplano prison in Mexico.
An informant working for US law enforcement told investigators that Coronel was integrally involved in the plan to build a tunnel into the prison that El Chapo used to escape to freedom.
“Coronel, asked Guzman’s sons to purchase a piece of land near Altiplano prison and instructed Cooperating Witness 1 to purchase a warehouse near Altiplano prison as well as firearms and an armored truck,” the complaint states.
“Those present also discussed the need to get a GPS watch to Guzman in prison in order to pinpoint his exact whereabouts so as to construct the tunnel with an entry point accessible to him,” it adds.
Coronel, a dual US-Mexico citizen married Guzman in 2007, and was a constant fixture at his high-profile Brooklyn trial two years ago. He was sentenced to life in prison in July 2019.
Additional reporting by Tamar Lapin