WASHINGTON, DC -- Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of notorious Mexican drug gang lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, was arrested Monday in the U.S. on conspiracy charges.
The U.S. Justice Department announced the arrest, saying the wife of "El Chapo" was taken into custody at Dulles International Airport in Virginia.
The 31-year-old Aispuro, who holds dual U.S. and Mexican citizenship, will appear in federal court Tuesday on charges she orchestrated a conspiracy to smuggle and distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana into the U.S.
In addition, federal prosecutors have alleged that Aispuro participated in the planning of her husband's successful 2015 escape from a Mexican prison. Even when Guzman was recaptured in 2016 before his extradition to the U.S., prosecutors contended Aispuro tried to helped him plot yet another escape.
"El Chapo" was ultimately convicted in 2019 by a New York jury for his role in an industrial-scale smuggling operation as the leader of Mexico's violent Sinola Cartel.
The three-month trial for Guzman, a roughly 5½-foot figure whose nickname translates to “Shorty,” was packed with Hollywood-style tales of grisly killings, political payoffs, cocaine hidden in jalapeno cans, jewel-encrusted guns and a naked escape with his mistress through a tunnel.
His Sinaloa Cartel was responsible for smuggling mountains of cocaine and other drugs into the U.S. during his 25-year reign, prosecutors said. They also said his "army" was under orders to kidnap, torture and murder anyone who got in his way.
Evidence showed drugs poured into the U.S. through secret tunnels or hidden in tanker trucks, concealed in the undercarriage of passenger cars and packed in rail cars passing through legitimate points of entry.
The 63-year-old Guzman, a folk hero to some in Mexico, remains behind bars serving a life sentence in a maximum-security U.S. prison selected to thwart any possible breakout attempts.
(The Associated Press contributed background to this report.)