Coronel (31), who also has American nationality, will be brought to Washington on Tuesday where she was arrested at Dulles International Airport. She gained international acclaim for being prominent in the 2017 lawsuit against Guzman after his extradition to the US by Mexico.
According to US law enforcement, Coronel provided back and forth between 2014 and 2017, before the New York lawsuit against her husband, to keep his Sinaloa cartel going and to continue smuggling drugs into the US. According to the FBI, she would have funneled messages from Guzman to members of the cartel. The drug lord is serving a life sentence in a maximum-security prison in Colorado for years of smuggling drugs into the US.
Coronel is now accused of complicity in the transit of cocaine, hash, heroin and synthetic drugs to the US. According to the prosecution, she also helped in the two attempts of her husband to flee from a Mexican prison. Guzman managed to escape from his cell in 2015, a year after his arrest in Mexico. He made use of a 1.5 kilometer long tunnel dug by cartel members. Six months later, the fugitive Guzman was arrested again.
According to the US, Coronel helped two of the drug lord’s sons plan and build the tunnel. With his escape, Guzman tried to avoid extradition to the US. A second escape attempt in 2016 was thwarted after which the drug lord was extradited to the US. According to a witness working with US law enforcement, he was given a million dollars to assist in this new escape attempt.
It is striking that Coronel, although she has been with ‘El Chapo’ since 2007, has never been charged by the Mexican justice. When the drug lord was captured, she was not the subject of a criminal investigation. During his trial in New York, the evidence already showed that Coronel had assisted in the escape attempts, but the OM in Mexico did not take action at that time.
Coronel still lives in Mexico with her children. Why she visited Washington is not clear. According to Mike Vigil, former chief of international operations for the US anti-narcotics agency DEA, Coronel can be of great value to the judiciary. Because she experienced firsthand how her husband worked for years, the Public Prosecution Service will certainly put pressure on her to cooperate in the approach to the Sinaloa cartel.
“She has been involved in the drug trade since childhood,” Vigil said of Coronel’s possible deal with the Americans. She knows how the Sinaloa Cartel operates. Her children are a great reason for her to work ‘.
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