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Emma Coronel El Chapo Today News & Update

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Emma Coronel El Chapo Today News & Update

Emma Coronel Aispuro: El Chapo’s beauty queen wife

The perfectly groomed, immaculately dressed Emma Coronel Aispuro became a familiar, and controversial, face at the trial of her husband, the notorious drug-lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, in the US.

For three months, the 29-year-old sat steadfastly watching the trial of the 61-year-old man she has been married to for 11 years. She listened to gruelling witness statements, including those from his multiple mistresses, detailing rape, murder and torture.

Yet her loyalty to him appeared unshaken.

“I don’t know my husband as the person they are trying to show him as,” Ms Coronel told The New York Times, “but rather I admire him as the human being that I met, and the one that I married.”

  • Who is ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán?
  • Mexico’s most-wanted: A guide to the drug cartels

She called Guzmán – who was found guilty of distributing cocaine and heroin, possessing firearms and money laundering – “an excellent father, friend, brother, son, partner”.

Her husband is now highly likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars in a US high security prison, and some wonder how she has managed to escape criminal charges.

Testifying in court, a former cartel associate, Damaso Lopez, said Ms Coronel had helped Guzmán escape from Altiplano prison in 2015. Ms Coronel has previously denied any knowledge of her husband’s criminal activity.

During the trial she was twice found in possession of a banned mobile phone and found to have had illegal contact with Guzmán.

Drug lord meets beauty queen

Born in California while her mother was visiting relatives there, Ms Coronel is a US citizen but grew up in the Mexican town of Canelas, in Durango state.

Aged 17, she met Guzmán at a dance. A few months later, she entered a beauty pageant and won. Mexican press reported that Guzmán turned up at the event with hundreds of gunmen in tow, then announced he would marry her.

They wed on Ms Coronel’s 18th birthday. It was Guzmán’s third marriage.

Emma CoronelImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionEmma Coronel leaving Brooklyn Federal Courthouse with her entourage

“I would say what won me over was his way of talking, how he treated me, the way we began to get along – first as friends and from that came everything else,” she told the LA Times in 2016. “He tends to win over people by his manner of being, of acting, the way he treats people in general.”

Ms Coronel’s father, Inés Coronel Barreras, was later convicted for drug trafficking. He was a high-ranking member of the Sinaloa cartel, of which Guzmán was the leader. Her uncle, Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, killed in 2010, was another key member of the gang.

Media-savvy

When Guzmán was once again locked up following their marriage, Ms Coronel studied journalism in Culiácan, a background which seems to have given her a confidence in dealing with the press.

  • Shocking allegations in ‘El Chapo’ trial
  • The downfall of one of the world’s most notorious criminals

But she has rarely given interviews. On the occasions she has, her husband has been portrayed as a hero. “He would be incapable of touching a woman with bad intentions, of trying to make her do something she didn’t want to do,” she told the LA Times.

El ChapoImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe couple gave each other a thumbs up as El Chapo was led away following the verdict

She regularly used twitter to document her feelings about her husband. On 30 January 2017, around the time El Chapo was extradited to the USA, she tweeted in Spanish: “We both knew that to make us a reality we would have to pay a huge price: distance, time, challenges and sacrifices. It was worth it.”

But she has not tweeted since August 2017, and has since moved over to Instagram.

As the trial came to a close earlier this month, she posted a photo of the courthouse along with the caption in Spanish: “Everything that was discussed in the trial about Joaquín, good and bad, does not change in any way the way I think about him”.

Media captionEl Chapo trial: Five facts about Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán

How did she react to the trial?

Witnesses told the court that Guzmán drugged and raped girls as young as 13, buried an enemy alive and had a “murder room” installed in his house, complete with a drain to help clean up messy executions.

Ms Coronel supported her husband steadfastly through the trial, watching from the gallery almost every day and remaining relatively emotionless, even on hearing accounts from his mistresses.

Emma CoronelImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionCourt drawings show Ms Coronel maintaining stylish pose as witnesses gave evidence in her husband’s trial

During one of these testimonies, the married couple wore matching burgundy jackets to represent their solidarity.

When one of Guzmán’s mistresses was reduced to tears during her testimony, Ms Coronel is reported to have laughed from the gallery.

Guzmán waved at his wife whenever she entered the courtroom and, following the verdict, they gave each other a thumbs up.

Ms Coronel has twin daughters to raise but says she does not consider herself a single mother. “More so, a mother who in this moment doesn’t have the support of her husband, but trusts that the family will be well,” she told the New York Times.

Rich future of El Chapo’s beauty queen wife

When the wife of notorious drug lord El Chapo learnt that her husband had been convicted of trafficking vast quantities of cocaine into the United States and was likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars, her reaction was magnificently calm.

“Nobody’s dead,” Emma Coronel Aispuro told those fussing around her, waving away tissues as she swept out of the New York courtroom in which she has spent much of the past three months.

The 29-year-old Kim Kardashian lookalike is known for her sanguine demeanour, becoming a magnet for the hordes of paparazzi gathered outside Brooklyn’s US Federal Court to capture her loyal attendance in support of her husband, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

“I’ve never seen her cry,” Mariel Colon Miro, the junior lawyer who became close to Ms Coronel during the sensational trial, told news.com.au. “She’s very, very strong and a very intelligent woman. I think a lot of people underestimate her.

“I kind of took on the role of helping her here in New York. This is a person who, she has nobody in New York, she comes here just to support, like a loving wife, support her husband for three months with no family, not even knowing the language.”

Now, what’s been dubbed “the trial of the century” is over. The former beauty queen has parted ways with the two bodyguards she hired as hysteria mounted ahead of the verdict, and has headed home to Mexico to see family, friends and the couple’s seven-year-old twin daughters.

The drug lord’s wife lives a lavish lifestyle, born into a family of Sinaloa cartel members, and marrying a man who made an estimated $14 billion as head of the powerful criminal enterprise. Where all El Chapo’s ill-gotten gains have gone, no one really knows. Ms Coronel has her own land and business interests — and big plans for the future, with Ms Colon saying she could be back in the US within the year to pursue “projects” that for now remain under wraps.

Emma Coronel Aispuro spent much of the last three months at court in New York for husband Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s high-profile trial. Picture: Don Emmert/AFP

Emma Coronel Aispuro spent much of the last three months at court in New York for husband Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s high-profile trial. Picture: Don Emmert/AFPSource:AFP

Guzman was convicted on charges relating to smuggling $14 billion of cocaine into the United States. Picture: Eduardo Verdugo/AP

Guzman was convicted on charges relating to smuggling $14 billion of cocaine into the United States. Picture: Eduardo Verdugo/APSource:AP

El Chapo, meaning “shorty” because he stands just 1.7m-tall (5ft 6in), was this week found guilty on 10 counts relating to smuggling an estimated 200 tons of narcotics to the US.

More than 50 witnesses for the prosecution delivered colourful testimony about the 61-year-old cocaine kingpin’s Hollywood-style escapades, describing ruthless murders, a jewel-encrusted gun, a cocaine-packed submarine and a man who fed off corruption some claimed went all the way to the top of the Mexican government.

Ms Coronel must now begin making a life for herself and her daughters alone after the emotional ordeal of the remarkable trial, and her reputation goes before her. “She’s El Chapo’s wife, so people of course do know her. Especially in Sinaloa, they treat her with a lot of respect and admiration,” said Ms Colon.

Ms Coronel met Guzman as a teenager at a party thrown by her father Ines Coronel Barreras, a cattle rancher believed to have grown marijuana and opium poppies for the cartel. Her uncle was slain cartel boss Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, one of El Chapo’s most trusted men.

Then 47, Guzman is said to have arrived with hundreds of gunmen to ensure the 17-year-old pageant queen won the Coffee and Guava Festival in the Mexican state of Durango in 2007, and she became his fourth wife on her 18th birthday.

“She’s been through a lot throughout her life with her family,” said Ms Colon. “That can shape someone … or make someone maybe react in a different way when faced with difficult situations.”

One such moment came when she cackled audibly as one of Guzman’s former mistresses wept on the stand last month, saying she had believed they had been in love. A day later, the glamorous mother of two posted three photos to Instagram of herself laughing and smiling outside court, along with a love heart.

The Sinaloa cartel boss was found guilty of running an industrial-scale smuggling operation packed with Hollywood-style tales of grisly killings, political pay-offs, cocaine hidden in jalapeño cans, jewel-encrusted guns and a naked escape through a tunnel. Picture: United States Drug Enforcement Administration via AP

The Sinaloa cartel boss was found guilty of running an industrial-scale smuggling operation packed with Hollywood-style tales of grisly killings, political pay-offs, cocaine hidden in jalapeño cans, jewel-encrusted guns and a naked escape through a tunnel. Picture: United States Drug Enforcement Administration via APSource:AP

The glamorous Ms Coronel, 29, has become a global celebrity during her appearances at a Brooklyn court to support her spouse and father to her twin girls. Picture: Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

The glamorous Ms Coronel, 29, has become a global celebrity during her appearances at a Brooklyn court to support her spouse and father to her twin girls. Picture: Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFPSource:AFP

Ms Coronel told the New York Times last month that she did not recognise the heartless killer portrayed at the trial. “I admire him as the human being that I met, and the one that I married,” she said.

Another of Guzman’s lawyers, Michael Lambert, told news.com.au: “Her commitment to Joaquin has been absolute, they genuinely love each other very much.”

Ms Coronel gave birth to their twin daughters in 2012, but Guzman was imprisoned for the second time in his high-profile criminal career in 2014.

Having already escaped from one maximum-security prison in 2001, concealed in a laundry cart after bribing his guards, he pulled it off again in 2015. The cartel boss drew on his experience with transporting drugs via a network of secret passageways, and dug a tunnel from a cellblock shower room to the outside world. There, according to one witness, he was met by his wife, and the pair embarked on a life in hiding.

The unflappable outlaw even met with Hollywood actor Sean Penn during his six months on the run, before police tracked him down to a beachfront apartment after a nationwide manhunt.

His legal team claimed he was seen by detectives as the ultimate prize, a man who has gained almost mythical status as the most dangerous drug lord since Pablo Escobar. There is such a dearth of video of the elusive criminal, the actor who plays him in Narcos attended court in New York to study his mannerisms and was greeted with a wave. “I think he does like it (his notoriety), a little,” Ms Coronel told Spanish-language TV network Noticias Telemundo.

Ms Coronel had her share of attention during the trial, cackling as Guzman’s former mistress sobbed in the dock, and causing a stir when she was found with a banned phone which the prosecution said was to used to communicate with him. Picture: Don Emmert/AFP

Ms Coronel had her share of attention during the trial, cackling as Guzman’s former mistress sobbed in the dock, and causing a stir when she was found with a banned phone which the prosecution said was to used to communicate with him. Picture: Don Emmert/AFPSource:AFP

Ms Coronel, who reportedly met El Chapo when he helped her win a local pageant at the age of 17, was accused by one witness of helping him escape from prison.

Ms Coronel, who reportedly met El Chapo when he helped her win a local pageant at the age of 17, was accused by one witness of helping him escape from prison.Source:Supplied

Guzman’s lawyers said he was not top-dog but a scapegoat of the cartel and corrupt law enforcement, claiming that even the Mexican presidents accepted bribes to look the other way. But the defence’s case lasted a mere 30 minutes.

The team faced a mountain of evidence including testimony from a string of Guzman’s former criminal associates, who the lawyers claimed were low-lifes who would say anything to help shorten their sentences. Dressed smartly each day in a suit — at one point opened to the chest, Scarface-style — El Chapo stared coldly at his former minions, making the odd comment or note as they reeled off lurid accusations against him, from sleeping with minors to ordering thousands of murders.

Ms Coronel, who told the LA Times Guzman was “incapable” of harming a woman — was banned from any contact with her husband, and only able to see him in court, although his daughters were permitted to visit him four or five times over the past year.

That state of affairs could continue for the rest of the his days, with Guzman currently locked in solitary confinement in a small Manhattan cell with no windows under 24-hour artificial light his lawyers say have given him headaches.

“His ears are hurting a lot, his throat is hurting a lot … the air that he breathes is from an air conditioner, it doesn’t circulate,” said Ms Colon. “This extreme confinement has impacted him mentally and emotionally as well. He forgets a lot of things.”

Ms Coronel was accused of meeting El Chapo at the end of a hidden tunnel he had dug from his shower to the outside world in one of two daring prison breakouts.

Ms Coronel was accused of meeting El Chapo at the end of a hidden tunnel he had dug from his shower to the outside world in one of two daring prison breakouts.Source:Supplied

The cocaine kingpin was extradited to the US in 2017. Picture: United States Drug Enforcement Administration via AP

The cocaine kingpin was extradited to the US in 2017. Picture: United States Drug Enforcement Administration via APSource:AP

She wrote a letter asking the judge to allow Guzman to hug his wife as a “humanitarian gesture” — but the request was denied. “Just because of the fact that she is El Chapo’s wife, people are already of course unfairly suspicious of her.”

When the former pageant queen was found with a banned mobile phone in court, the prosecution insisted she was trying to communicate with her husband. The judge eventually accepted she had simply been trying to use Google Translate.

“They’re amazing people,” said the lawyer. “Joaquin Guzman’s very, very strong, positive, he stays very positive throughout the process, same as Emma, I think they share that characteristic.

“They’re both very strong and the way, when they’re faced with what has been one of the most difficult processes in their lives, I just admire the way they handled themselves.”

El Chapo has certainly never meekly accepted his fate, but time may have run out for the criminal mastermind. The lawyers plan to appeal on two major fronts: first, that he was limited in his ability to defend himself and gather witnesses from Mexico due to his strict confinement. Secondly, they say they were not allowed to pursue certain lines of questioning because of the potential embarrassment to the Mexican and US governments.

He’s said to have spent more than a quarter of a century trafficking a record 200 tons of cocaine into the US. Picture: Eduardo Verdugo/AP

He’s said to have spent more than a quarter of a century trafficking a record 200 tons of cocaine into the US. Picture: Eduardo Verdugo/APSource:AP

Ms Coronel, who appears to enjoy a lavish lifestyle, has ‘projects’ planned in the US later this year. Picture: Kena Betancur/AFP

Ms Coronel, who appears to enjoy a lavish lifestyle, has ‘projects’ planned in the US later this year. Picture: Kena Betancur/AFPSource:AFP

But the process could take years. In the meantime, El Chapo remains unable to see his wife, friends or family, cut off from the world after living a life so dark, dangerous and thrilling it is wilder than any movie plot.

“At some point, both Mr Guzman and Emma knew this was coming,” said Mr Lambert. “If you saw them in the courtroom, they were both stoic. It’s been coming for months.

“She’s going on with her life, because that’s what Joaquin would want.

“I think she’s going to be making a lot of moves in the world.

“She’s not out there seeking attention. She’s a person of substance.

“She is a glamorous person in the sense she’s gained celebrity status, but she’s also a private person. That’s not something anybody wants … the chaos outside court.”

As for the appeal, Mr Lambert said, “Mr Guzman is looking forward to that fight, he’s not given up.”

In the meantime, the woman behind the legendary gangster will be chasing her own destiny.

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