The wife of the Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Gúzman was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday. Emma Coronel Aispuro pleaded guilty in June 2021 to conspiring to transfer illegal drugs, money laundering and being a party to financial transactions involving the Sinaloa drug cartel. She willingly returned $1.5 million to the U.S. government, which she was asked to do as part of her sentence.

Coronel was also accused of helping others to break her husband out of prison in 2015. She was allegedly planning another breakout before Gúzman was sent to the United States in 2017.

Gúzman was convicted of drug trafficking, murder, conspiracy, kidnapping and other charges and sentenced to life in prison in February 2019. He also ran the Sinaloa cartel, a large, profitable and ruthless drug smuggling operation. Since February 2019, he has tried to appeal the conviction. Coronel was arrested near the nation’s capital in February 2021. Coronel also admitted to acting as a messenger between her husband and other cartel members after Gúzman was arrested in 2014. The messages she passed on helped Gúzman escape prison in 2015 through a tunnel built by the cartel that led to the shower in his cell. He was later recaptured in 2016 and sent to the United States in 2017.

Originally, the Justice Department asked for Coronel to be sentenced to four years in prison. Her actual sentence ended up being three years, with 48 months of supervised release. According to a prosecutor, she was a “cog” in a massive criminal machine.

Coronel, through the use of an interpreter, begged for forgiveness. She also promised to teach her daughters right from wrong. She asked the judge not to allow her children to grow up without their mother.

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