WASHINGTON (AP) — The spouse of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was arrested Monday in america and accused of serving to her husband run his multibillion-dollar cartel and plot his audacious escape from a Mexican jail in 2015.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, a 31-year-old former magnificence queen, was arrested at Dulles Worldwide Airport in Virginia and is predicted to seem in federal courtroom in Washington on Tuesday. She is a twin citizen of america and Mexico.

Her arrest is the newest twist within the bloody, multinational saga involving Guzman, the longtime head of the Sinaloa drug cartel. Guzman, whose two dramatic jail escapes in Mexico fed right into a legend that he and his household had been all however untouchable, was extradited to america in 2017 and is serving life in jail.

And now his spouse, with whom he has two younger daughters, has been charged with serving to him run his legal empire. In a single-count legal criticism, Coronel was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana within the U.S. The Justice Division additionally accused her of serving to her husband escape from a Mexican jail in 2015 and collaborating within the planning of a second jail escape earlier than Guzman was extradited to the U.S.

Coronel’s legal professional Jeffrey Lichtman declined to remark Monday night time.

As Mexico’s strongest drug lord, Guzman ran a cartel liable for smuggling mountains of cocaine and different medicine into america throughout his 25-year reign, prosecutors stated in current courtroom papers. Additionally they stated his “military of sicarios,” or “hit males,” was below orders to kidnap, torture and kill anybody who bought in his method.

His jail breaks grew to become the stuff of legend and raised critical questions on whether or not Mexico’s justice system was able to holding him accountable. In a single case, he escaped by way of an entry below the bathe in his cell to a milelong (1.6-kilometer-long) lighted tunnel with a bike on rails. The planning for the escape was intensive, prosecutors say, together with his spouse taking part in a key position.

Court docket papers cost that Coronel labored with Guzman’s sons and a witness, who’s now cooperating with the U.S. authorities, to prepare the development of the underground tunnel that Guzman used to flee from the Altiplano jail to stop his extradition to the U.S. The plot included buying a chunk of land close to the jail, firearms and an armored truck and smuggling him a GPS watch so they might “pinpoint his actual whereabouts in order to assemble the tunnel with an entry level accessible to him,” the courtroom papers say.

Guzman was sentenced to life behind bars in 2019.

Coronel, who was a magnificence queen in her teenagers, usually attended Guzman’s trial, even when testimony implicated her in his jail breaks. The 2, separated in age by greater than 30 years, have been collectively since at the very least 2007, and their twin daughters had been born in 2011.

Her father, Ines Coronel Barreras, was arrested in 2013 with one in every of his sons and a number of other different males in a warehouse with lots of of kilos of marijuana throughout the border from Douglas, Arizona. Months earlier, the U.S. Treasury had introduced monetary sanctions in opposition to her father for his alleged drug trafficking.

After Guzman was rearrested following his escape, Coronel lobbied the Mexican authorities to enhance her husband’s jail circumstances. And after he was convicted in 2019, she moved to launch a clothes line in his title.

Mike Vigil, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s former chief of worldwide operations, stated Coronel “has been concerned within the drug commerce since she was just a little woman. She is aware of the internal workings of the Sinaloa cartel.”

He stated she may very well be prepared to cooperate.

“She has an enormous motivation, and that’s her twins,” Vigil stated.


Related Press writers Christopher Sherman and Mark Stevenson in Mexico Metropolis contributed to this report.