Feds probing El Chapo’s wife for role in kingpin’s 2015 prison escape

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Feds probing El Chapo’s wife for role in kingpin’s 2015 prison escape

Mica
NY Post

With drug kingpin El Chapo finally behind bars, the feds are now pursuing his glamorous young wife, “La Reinita” or the little queen, The Post has learned.

“She’s being investigated for conspiracy in this country,” a federal law enforcement source told The Post. “She is being looked at for her part in El Chapo’s escape.”

Emma Coronel Aispuro, 29, a leggy brunette and former teenage beauty queen who was born in the US and holds dual Mexican and American citizenship, continues to use cash from her husband Joaquin Guzman Loera’s drug empire to support her lavish lifestyle, the source said.

She has not been charged with a crime in either Mexico or the US, but during El Chapo’s trial in Brooklyn federal court earlier this year — which ended in a drug trafficking conviction that could bring a life sentence — a witness recounted her alleged role in her husband’s daring escape from a Mexican prison in July 2015.

Damaso Lopez Nunez, the drug lord’s longtime lieutenant, said El Chapo, now 62, contacted him soon after his capture by Mexican Marines in February 2014. Before that, the drug kingpin had been on the lam for more than 13 years.

Lopez said his boss asked him to “meet with the mother of the twins,” referring to Coronel, with whom he has two 7-year-old daughters. Coronel is also the daughter of one of El Chapo’s former drug-trafficking partners in the Sinaloa cartel, Ines Coronel Barreras, who was convicted on weapons charges and marijuana trafficking in 2017. He is currently serving a 10-year sentence in Mexico.

Coronel told Lopez that her husband was “taking the risk … and thinking of escaping from prison,” Lopez said in court.

Coronel “was giving us his messages,” Lopez said during his testimony in January. He described her as a go-between who delivered communiques to the lieutenants building the ventilated, mile-long tunnel the drug kingpin would famously use to escape. The entrance to the tunnel was through El Chapo’s prison bathroom.

Lopez, who was known by his underworld alias El Licenciado and whose main job was to bribe public officials, said he had a meeting in May or June of 2014 with Coronel and some of El Chapo’s sons. Lopez said they discussed buying a plot of land near the prison so that they could dig the tunnel — a project that took months to complete.

Coronel allegedly told Lopez to procure weapons and an armored truck to be used in the break-out, which took place July 12, 2015.

El Chapo escaped on a motorcycle that was used to spirit him through the tunnel. When he emerged, Coronel was among those who greeted him at the exit, the federal source previously revealed to The Post.

El Chapo was then driven to a warehouse and later flown to a hideout, Lopez testified.

He was finally captured by Mexican law enforcement working with US federal agents nearly six months later in Sinaloa in January 2016, and extradited to the US a year later.

When El Chapo’s trial began in Brooklyn in November, Coronel was a daily fixture in the courtroom although authorities would not allow her to speak to her husband, whom she hadn’t seen since his January 2017 extradition.

When El Chapo applied through his lawyers to hug his wife before the trial got underway, Brooklyn federal judge Brian Cogan refused his request, upholding the government’s “restriction that prohibits defendant from communicating with or having any physical contact with his wife” in order to prevent El Chapo “from coordinating any escape from prison or directing any attack on individuals who might be cooperating with the government.”

While her husband languished in a Manhattan lock-up, Coronel threw a lavish Barbie-themed party for her twins in Mexico, and posed in bikinis and tight jeans on Instagram.

A lawyer who was on El Chapo’s defense team and is currently representing Coronel in her efforts to start a clothing and accessories company bearing her husband’s underworld alias, declined comment Friday.

A spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the federal agency that coordinated El Chapo’s capture in 2016, refused comment on any investigation into Coronel.