The wife of notorious Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman appeared in a Washington, D.C., court on Thursday, where she officially announced plans to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with allegations she helped her husband run his multibillion-dollar criminal empire.
Emma Coronel Aispuro appeared in District of Columbia court for a plea agreement hearing related to a single charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the U.S. She previously pleaded not guilty to the allegations, which link her to crimes committed by her convicted drug lord husband, nicknamed “El Chapo.”
Coronel wore a green prison uniform and spoke through an interpreter during the hearing, when her attorney told District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras that his client wants to enter a plea of guilty.
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Coronel was arrested in February at Dulles International Airport in Virginia.
Guzman and Coronel, 31, have been together since at least 2007, and have twin daughters who were born in 2011. She is a former beauty queen who is more than 30 years younger than her husband.
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As Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Guzman ran the Sinaloa cartel, responsible for smuggling cocaine and other drugs into the United States during his 25-year reign, prosecutors have previously said. They also said his “army of sicarios,” or “hit men,” was under orders to kidnap, torture and kill anyone who got in his way.
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Prosecutors had alleged in February that Coronel “worked closely with the command-and-control structure” of the Sinaloa cartel and conspired to distribute large quantities of drugs, knowing they would be smuggled into the U.S.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.