Emma Coronel’s bittersweet reunion with El Chapo during the trial of the century

The intertwined fate of the former beauty queen and her infamous husband, from their nuptials to their separate US prison journeys.

On July 2, 2007, Emma Coronel Aispuro and Joaquín Guzmán Loera married in a modest religious ceremony without imagining that they would both end up in prison in the United States a decade later.

Although on June 7, it was reported that the former beauty queen was transferred from the minimum security federal prison “FMC Carswell” in Texas to a halfway house for inmates located in Los Angeles, California, the situation for “El Chapo” – as the former drug trafficker of the Sinaloa Cartel is known worldwide – is not as favorable as that of Emma Coronel.

It was in 2019 when Joaquín Guzmán Loera was sentenced to spend the rest of his days in the maximum security prison ADX Florence in Colorado. However, before the also-called “Trial of the Century” culminated in the Brooklyn Court, “El Chapo” and his third wife had the opportunity to see each other again.

Una de las últimas veces que Emma Coronel habría tenido la oportunidad de ver a su esposo fue durante el juicio celebrado en la Corte de Brooklyn   (Foto: Reuters)
One of the last times Emma Coronel would have had the opportunity to see her husband was during the trial held at the Brooklyn courthouse (Photo: Reuters).

One of the last times that El Chapo Guzmán and Emma Coronel were reunited after the drug lord’s final apprehension in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, occurred during the second hearing of the legal process that the co-founder of the Pacific Cartel faced on the eighth floor of the Eastern District of New York.

According to an account reconstructed by Univision, the ex-beauty queen entered the cramped room with shiny floors and cold walls where her husband was to be tried 15 minutes before two bailiffs led “El Chapo” away. Joaquin Guzman Loera was then facing 17 charges for drug trafficking, money laundering offenses, kidnapping, and murder.

Emma Coronel sat in the front row to hear the allegations the U.S. prosecution sought to charge her husband with. The former beauty queen sat on the right side of the courtroom, just behind the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officers who guarded and escorted “El Chapo” throughout his extradition process.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, la esposa del narcotraficante mexicano Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, aparece en este retrato robot del tribunal, sentada impasible mientras se lee el veredicto, el día en que Guzmán fue declarado culpable de contrabandear toneladas de drogas a Estados Unidos, en la corte federal de Brooklyn en Nueva York, Estados Unidos, el 12 de febrero de 2019  (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)
Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, is shown in this court sketch, sitting impassively as the verdict is read on the day Guzman was found guilty of smuggling tons of drugs into the United States at Brooklyn federal court in New York, U.S., February 12, 2019 (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)

Journalist Maye Primera detailed in her report for Univision that once “El Chapo” entered the courtroom where he would later be sentenced to life in prison, he swept the place with his eyes and smiled when he saw Emma Coronel Aispuro among those present.

Once the second hearing of the so-called “Trial of the Century” was over, the co-founder of the Sinaloa Cartel – who was already wearing the blue uniform of a prisoner – smiled at his wife again before the guards took him back to prison. Although the couple did not exchange a single word, their looks said it all.

According to information provided by “El Chapo’s” own wife in an interview with journalist Anabel Hernández, she is the only one of his siblings who has dual nationality since she was born at a time when her parents had traveled to the United States in search of a better quality of life, however, years later they returned to Mexico.

For this reason, during the first hearings and trials that Joaquín Guzmán Loera faced in the United States, Emma Coronel was the only one who could be present since neither other members of the Guzmán family nor the drug lord’s lawyers had valid visas.

Imagen de archivo. Emma Coronel Aispuro, esposa de Joaquín Guzmán, el narcotraficante mexicano conocido como "El Chapo", llega al Tribunal Federal de Brooklyn, para la presentación de Guzmán en el distrito de Brooklyn de Nueva York, Estados Unidos. 17 de julio de 2019. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid
File image. Emma Coronel Aispuro, wife of Joaquin Guzman, the Mexican drug lord known as “El Chapo,” arrives at Brooklyn Federal Court for Guzman’s arraignment in the Brooklyn borough of New York, United States. July 17, 2019. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

Emma Coronel Aispuro is currently facing the last part of her legal process in the United States after spending nearly 15 months in a minimum security prison in Texas after pleading guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering-related crimes.

The former beauty queen is scheduled to be fully released on September 13. However, it is not known if she will be able to visit her husband at the ADX Florence prison in Colorado once she regains her freedom since José Refugio Rodríguez – “El Chapo’s” lawyer – has accused on multiple occasions of the “unfair” restrictions that the former Sinaloa drug lord has to receive visits, calls and access to time outside of his cell.