News Crime

Emma Still Infatuated With Drug Czar 'El Chapo,' Stands By Her Husband

Emma Coronel Aispuro met Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzman at a ranch in Durango, Mexico, when she was 17. The drug lord was running the Sinaloa cartel. He had been on the run some six years after making a sensational escape from a maximum-security prison via a laundry cart in 2001. Till then, she had led a very tranquil, simple childhood, within a loving, unified family, growing up with two brothers and a sister. Though she is said to have won a beauty pageant as a teenager, most details about her personal life remain a mystery. Although 32 years separate them in age, from that first day a lovely friendship started between the couple, according to her. Over time they became girlfriend and boyfriend. And when she turned 18 years old, they were married in a very simple ceremony with family and only close friends. Born in California, she grew up in the northwestern Mexican state of Durango, neighbouring Sinaloa. Both states make up part of the Golden Triangle of marijuana production. In her life story, there is no mention of drugs; though court testimony has suggested that her father worked for the Sinaloa cartel. That teen infatuation romance has now brought her to New York City, during the time of her husband’s imprisonment. Dámaso López Núñez, 52, a former prison director turned high-ranking cartel member, recently testified that Emma helped orchestrate her husband’s 2015 jail break. In early 2015, she is said to have met with El Chapo and his sons to carry out the jailhouse breakout: purchase a plot of land and bodega close to the prison; secure weapons, an armored pickup truck and a GPS wristwatch to pinpoint his exact cell coordinates; and dig a tunnel stretching from the prison to the bodega. Then he escaped down a hole dug under his shower, mounted a pulley-run cycle and rode it the length of the nearly mile-long tunnel. One her brothers took El Chapo to an airstrip in San Juan, from where, he flew home to the mountains of Sinaloa. Throughout the trial, the 29-year old has betrayed little emotion, except when once the prosecution rolled in a cart filled with AK-47s and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher in the presence of their 7-year-old twin daughters - Emali and Maria Joaquina - on a rare visit from their school in Mexico. She, who has enjoyed the spoils of a drug empire that prosecutors have estimated allowed the kingpin to bank $14 billion {re. 99, 673o crore} over the course of his 30-year reign, has vehemently dismissed the courtroom characterisation of her husband as a bloodthirsty killer and habitual philanderer.