The wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman begged for “forgiveness” as she was sentenced to prison for three years.
Emma Coronel Aispuro, 32, was sent down on Tuesday in Washington, USA, after pleading with US District Judge Rudolph Contreras to show her mercy, Reuters reports.
Using an interpreter, she said: “With all due respect, I address you today to express my true regret for any and all harm that I may have done, and I ask that you and all the citizens of this country forgive me.”
Coronel added that she feared the judge might find it difficult to forgive her because she is married to El Chapo.
“Perhaps for this reason you feel there is a need for you to be harder on me, but I pray that you do not do that,” she continued.
Coronel pleaded guilty in June to three counts of conspiring to distribute illegal drugs, conspiring to launder money and engaging in financial dealings with the Sinaloa drug cartel.
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday asked that a four-year prison term be imposed on Coronel, adding that she would be forfeiting £1.13 million as part of her sentence.
Federal prosecutor Anthony Nardozzi said: “While the overall effect of the defendant’s conduct was significant, the defendant’s actual role was a minimal one. The defendant acted primarily in support of her husband.”
He noted that after her arrest, she “quickly accepted responsibility for her criminal conduct.”
Coronel, an American-born former beauty queen who married El Chapo while she was still a teenager, was arrested at Dulles International Airport outside Washington in February.
She and the drug lord share nine-year-old twin daughters together.
As part of her plea agreement with prosecutors, Coronel admitted to acting as a courier between El Chapo and other members of the Sinaloa cartel while he was being held in Mexico’s Altiplano prison following his 2014 arrest.
He used those communications to plan his daring 2015 escape from the prison, through an underground tunnel built by the cartel leading to the shower in his cell.
Coronel’s attorney on Tuesday stressed that she was swept into the world of drug trafficking while still a minor and deserved mercy.
Jeffrey Lichtman said: “She met Joaquin Guzman when she was a minor. She was 17 years old, and she married him on her 18th birthday.”
Mr Lichtman added that Coronel now finds herself in danger, noting that anonymous law enforcement sources told news media that she was cooperating with the government.