El Chapo’s wife lived mostly in obscurity until her husband went to prison for life

Despite her status as the wife of the world’s most notorious drug boss, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Emma Coronel Aispuro lived mostly in obscurity — until her husband went to prison for life.

Then, suddenly, she was a presence on social media. There was talk of launching a fashion line. Even an appearance on a reality show dedicated to the families of drug traffickers.

Coronel’s actions did not go unnoticed. And in the wake of her arrest Monday on charges that she had conspired to distribute drugs, there were those who wondered: In embracing the limelight, had Coronel put a target on her own back?

Her behavior was notable in part because she had lived a relatively sheltered life until her part in a grueling trial that drew international attention. But her actions violated unwritten rules about family members, especially wives, keeping a low profile.

Until the trial, “Emma had remained anonymous like practically all of partners of Sinaloa cartel capos,” said Adrián López, executive editor of Sinaloa’s Noroeste newspaper. Then, “she begins to take on more of a celebrity attitude. … This breaks a tradition of secrecy and a style specifically within the leadership of the Sinaloa cartel.”

Late last year, the Mexican investigative journalist Anabel Hernández — who has written extensively about the Sinaloa cartel, including a 2019 book about the diary of cartel leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada’s son — said a source told her that Coronel’s mother, Blanca Aispuro, was worried about the turn her daughter’s life was taking.

Concern was also building among Guzmán’s sons and Sinaloa cartel leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, said Hernández, who was the first journalist to ever interview Emma Coronel.

“Her mother was also worried that an enemy cartel could harm Emma because she was unleashed, was out in the street a lot, the clubs, excessive in her social life,” Hernández said the source told her. “Her mother worried something like that could happen or she could become a target of the government.”



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