After pleading guilty earlier this year to helping the Sinaloa drug cartel, the wife of imprisoned Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday by a U.S. judge.
Before being sentenced, 32-year-old Emma Coronel Aispuro pleaded with the U.S. District Judge to show her mercy...saying in Spanish through an interpreter quote:
"With all due respect, I address you today to express my true regret for any and all harm that I may have done, and I ask that you and all the citizens of this country forgive me.”
In June, Coronel pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiring to distribute illegal drugs, conspiring to launder money and of engaging in financial dealings with the Sinaloa drug cartel.
Her defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman spoke to the media after the sentencing, saying his client was swept into the world of drug trafficking while still a minor, and deserved mercy:
"...her role was simply to be the wife. That's what her role was, period...The guidelines reflect somebody who's involved with a very large conspiracy, of which they're a very tiny person. And that's what the facts showed. That's what the judge saw. It's what the government saw. We've been saying this from the beginning…”
Coronel, a U.S.-born former beauty queen married Guzman while she was a teenager.
She was arrested at Dulles International Airport outside Washington in February.
As part of her plea agreement with prosecutors, Coronel admitted to acting as a courier between Guzman and other members of the Sinaloa cartel while he was being held in Mexico's Altiplano prison following his 2014 arrest.
Guzman used those communications to plan his 2015 escape from the prison, through an underground tunnel built by the cartel leading to the shower in his cell.
The drug lord was recaptured in January 2016 and extradited one year later to the United States.
He was convicted in February 2019 of drug trafficking, conspiracy, kidnapping, murder and other charges, and later sentenced to life in prison.