CAGED drug lord El Chapo’s wife could cut a deal help bring about the collapse of the mighty Sinaloa cartel, a legendary DEA boss has said.
Mike Vigil told The Sun Online that Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, will likely provide law enforcement with the “blueprint” to bring down the $11 billion drugs empire.
Vigil, former chief of international operations for the DEA and one of the world’s leading experts on Mexican cartels, the so-called “Narco Princess” options are now limited.
The prospect of a long jail sentence and not seeing her beloved twin daughters will provide motivation to “turn on Sinaloa cartel” and put “big dent” into the narcos.
“She can draw a blueprint for US and Mexican law enforcement to dismantle the organisation, little by little,” Vigil told The Sun Online.
Coronel is currently languishing in a jail cell, accused of helping to run her husband’s drug-trafficking empire.
She is also accused of helping 63-year-old escape from a maximum-security Mexican prison in 2015 and helping to plot another escape before he was extradited to the US in 2017.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was once the world’s most powerful drugs trafficker but will spend the rest of his days in the ADX Florence ‘super-max’ prison after being handed a life sentence in 2019.
He fell in love with his wife when he saw her at a beauty pageant in the Mexican state of Durango in 2007 and they married when she was just 18 and him 47.
Vigil says the prosecutors will now sit down with her legal team for a pre-trial discussions during which she could cut a deal.
Emma Coronel Aispuro – ‘The Narco Princess’
EMMA Coronel Aispuro was born on July 3, 1989, in San Francisco, California. She grew up in Durango near Sinaloa state.
She is believed to have gotten married in 2007 on her 18th birthday.
Emma is a former beauty queen who often shares pictures of herself online.
She is a Mexican-American, the daughter of Inés Coronel Barreras, a cattle rancher, and Blanca Estela Aispuro Aispuro.
Her rancher father is said to have cultivated marijuana and opium poppies and her uncle is slain drug kingpin Igancio Nacho Coronel, an important member of the Sinaloa Cartel and one of El Chapo’s most trusted men.
El Chapo is said to have fallen in love with Emma Coronel when he saw her at a beauty pageant in the Mexican state of Durango in 2007.
She was competing in the local Coffee and Guava Festival in 2007, when she was just 17 and El Chapo exerted his influence to ensure the girl won.
El Chapo, 47 at the time, wooed the young Coronel, who eventually married him on her 18th birthday.
In an interview with the LA Times she said: “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.
“He tends to win over people by his manner of being, of acting, the way he treats people in general.”
She was a fixture at his 2019 trial in New York — after which he was jailed for life at a US maximum-security prison.
After a New York court found Guzman guilty of running a giant cocaine empire, his wife strolled out through the waiting paparazzi to a waiting car “like a celebrity leaving a club.”
He told The Sun Online: “She’s got two very young daughters. Chapo Guzman is never going to see the light of day again so that has got to be stewing in her mind while she’s in jail.
“The daughters will provide great motivation for her to turn on the Sinaloa cartel and provide information.
“She has a great deal of historic information about how the cartel functions, she knows all of the leaders, she knows all of the drug routes, she knows all the officials the cartel pays.
“She can also provide information about how it launders money.”
He said that Emma Coronel is well placed to provide information given her background and closeness to her husband.
She is herself from narco royalty – her father and brother are reputed to be drug traffickers, while her uncle is slain drug kingpin Igancio Nacho Coronel.
That intimate knowledge will help the US authorities shine a light into the murky world of the cartels.
“She grew up in the drug world and has always been a narco princess Emma Coronel was born into the narco world, unlike most people who go into it.
“When she married, she became Chapo Guzman’s confidant because the one thing about drug traffickers trust the most and the ones they know they can trust the most are family members.
“The government is going to be interested in information on the Sinaloa cartel, which still operates in 40 countries.
“If she co-operates fully she is able to put a big dent into the cartel. There’s individuals that have not yet been indicted in the United States, people that she knows.
“The government is definitely going to want to know about Chapo’s sons and the other big one is Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada.”
Vigil said that Zambada has been running the Sinaloa cartel since Chapo has been in prison and he describes him as the “Carlo Gambino of cartels” – referring to the Mafia overlord to managed to avoid jail.
Who is El Chapo?
Joaquin “El Chapo
He built an international criminal empire trafficking cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.
One of the world most notorious drug lords, he was caged for life in 2019 after he was found guilty of orchestrating the exploits of the murderous gang during his career, spanning over three decades.
The 63-year-old headed the Sinaloa Cartel, a criminal organisation named after the Mexican Pacific coast, after his humble beginnings in a poor farming family.
El Chapo became the country’s top drug lord in 2003 after the arrest of his rival Osiel Cardenas of the Gulf Cartel.
He was considered the “most powerful drug trafficker in the world” by the US Department of the Treasury and “one of the most powerful people in the world” by Forbes between 2009 and 2013.
Guzman was a “principal leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, a Mexico-based international drug trafficking organisation responsible for importing and distributing more than a million kilograms of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin in the US,” according to the US Office of Public Affairs,
El Chapo’s first bold breakout came in 2001, when he managed to escape Puente Grande, a maximum-security Mexican prison in the sate of Jalisco, by hiding in a laundry cart and bribing guards.
He was facing a 20-year-stretch after he was imprisoned for murder and drug trafficking in 1993, and feared he would be extradited to the U.S.
On January 19, 2001, his electronically secured cell was opened and prison guards escorted Guzman in a cart of dirty laundry through unsecured hallways, before he reached the car park and jumped into the boot of a Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
After successfully evading authorities and the $7.5 million combined bounties of Mexico and the US, El Chapo was arrested by the Mexican Navy on February 22, 2014, after he had hidden in tunnels for days on end.
After his subsequent reimprisonment, Guzman upped his antics and performed a second escape on July 11, 2015, from the Altiplano prison in Almoloya de Juarez.
He fled through a hole under the shower in his cell that continued to a mile-long ventilated and lighted tunnel that led to a construction site, equipped with a motorbike on rails to aid his speedy getaway.
Though she will never face the same conditions as her husband, Emma Coronel will gradually come around to realising co-operation is her best option, argues Vigil.
“Most people when they get arrested say they’re not going to co-operate. You saw in the statement she made after she was arrested in which she said she was innocent.
“They all say they’re innocent but when the bleak reality starts to set in. Some don’t co-operate until they’re in prison and then after a year or two they want no more of a seven by twelve foot cell.
“She’s going to be in a cell in Alexandria, Virginia thinking about her situation, thinking about her daughters.”
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Vigil explained there is another motivation for her to turn on the cartel – getting her hands on El Chapo’s money.
“She has access to Chapo Guzman’s hundreds of millions. When you take a look at her she has very expensive purses and clothing.
“I’m sure that Chapo Guzman put money in bank accounts that she has access to.
“A lot of the money from selling drugs in the United States wasn’t laundered but moved back and buried and she will have access to that.”