El Chapo’s wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, was arrested at Dulles Airport in Washington, DC, and charged with drug trafficking on Monday
Prosecutors are prepared to offer El Chapo’s arrested wife a new life under witness protection for spilling secrets to devastate Mexico’s murderous Sinaloa cartel, Dailymail.com can exclusively reveal.”
Emma Coronel Aispuro would vanish with her nine-year-old twin daughters despite currently facing up to 40 years in prison over drug conspiracy charges if she accepts the deal.
Her jailed cartel boss husband Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman will even encourage her to cooperate as an act of revenge on those who crossed him, ex-top drug officer Mike Vigil told DailyMail.com.
Vigil, who spent years undercover infiltrating Mexican and Colombian cartels, is convinced she will take the deal.
The legendary DEA crime buster, who maintains close law enforcement contacts, said: ‘Prosecutors will dangle witness protection in front of Emma Coronel. That is without question.
‘She will be more than tempted by the chance of an anonymous new life. I believe she will cooperate.’
Coronel will be offered witness protection with her two young daughters in exchange for spilling secrets about the Mexican Sinaloa cartel, DailyMail.com can reveal
Ex drug officer Mike Vigil told DailyMail.com that Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman will even encourage her to cooperate as an act of revenge on those who crossed him. El Chapo is pictured in 2017
‘Authorities will offer it simply because of the amount of information she can provide against the Sinaloa cartel.’
He added: ‘Emma Coronel was Chapo Guzman’s principal confidante. She knows the inner workings of the cartel.
Ex drug officer Mike Vigil (pictured) said: ‘Prosecutors will dangle witness protection in front of Emma Coronel. That is without question’
‘She knows the identities of the upper echelon on the cartel, the drug trafficking routes they use, how they smuggle drugs and how they manufacture drugs.
‘Crucially, she can provide a lot of information that can lead to US-based indictments against Sinaloa cartel members. And this would not bode for them very well.
‘She also knows which Mexican government officials Chapo Guzman and now the Sinaloa cartel were paying off for protection.’
The likelihood of witness protection comes amid a report that Coronel, 31, turned herself in when she flew into the US on Monday.
The former teenage beauty queen was arrested at Dulles International Airport and has been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine in the United States.
Now the ‘Narco Princess’ is languishing in a cell after a video appearance at a Washington DC court while El Chapo, 63, is in solitary confinement at the ADX supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.
She was a glamorous and controversial fixture at her husband’s 2019 trial In New York, where he was sentenced to life plus 30 years.
‘Investigators will be using Emma Coronel’s emotions now to get a result,’ said Vigil, who was head of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration. ‘They know how to play her situation to make cooperation and witness protection enticing for her.
‘And no one needs to play their cards right now more than her.’
At a virtual court appearance on Tuesday, Aispuro’s attorneys said they were not immediately seeking bail. Aispuro is pictured in a court sketch of the virtual proceedings along with her lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman (top left) and US Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather (top right)
US officials could be looking for Coronel (pictured) to help take down her husband Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s operation, the Sinaloa cartel
He said arrested suspects always have ‘psychological reluctance’ to cooperate at first because of the potential danger or murder threat.
But other factors often compete – and Coronel will be running through those as she weighs up her future.
‘Right now she will be thinking of her daughters Emali and Maria,’ said Vigil. ‘They are the biggest motivation for making a deal. With the charge against her, 40 years in jail is possible. She doesn’t want to do that.
‘She’s sitting in her jail cell thinking about nothing else but her situation. She can’t get bail because she is a flight risk. But she can talk. She will end up like most defendants, cooperating.’
If Coronel goes for witness protection, there is a chance she might still have to serve a much reduced sentence depending on her information and negotiations. Federal jails have special units for these prisoners.
Whichever way it goes, she would be given a fresh identity and a complete back story for her eventual new life. This would be anywhere in the United States.
Coronel is pictured above in photos from her beauty queen days – before she met Guzman and married him in 2007 when she was 18
‘Emma Coronel would start by being given an orientation by the US Justice Department, which runs the program,’ said Vigil.
‘Then she would have to go through a psychological exam. She would get a brand new identity, passport, driver’s license, the works. She would get a script of her new life that she must learn for her fictitious back story.
‘She would be placed in a secret location, helped with a place to live and given a small amount of money before she found work. She would have her twins with her, but it would mean absolutely no contact with other family.’
Coronel was born in the US but has spent most of her life in Mexico. She would be checked on weekly in witness protection to see how she was holding out psychologically.
But Vigil believes she would struggle with a quiet life and a mundane job because of her obsession with the limelight and wealth.
She reveled in the attention at her husband’s trial, launched an El Chapo clothing range and went on to appear in VH1’s Cartel Crew show.
The DEA veteran said: ‘She has access to Chapo Guzman’s money. And if she were in a witness protection program, she would be living an austere life without it. And she’s no used to that. Not at all.
‘She is also going to have a hard time because she really doesn’t speak good English.
‘She has lived most of her life in Mexico and the States is going to be a different culture.’
He added: ‘And then they will expect her to get a job.
‘She’s never had a career and if she doesn’t speak the language well she’s going to end up in a very menial job.
‘That’s going to be tough for her psychologically. It’s going to play hard on her.’
Despite the stigma and danger of cooperating, El Chapo will give his blessing in order to safeguard the young twins and give himself a sense of revenge said Vigil.
Key to that is payback for what Guzman sees as betrayal by the man who took his role as head of the Sinaloa cartel, current boss Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada.
His son Vincente Zambada testified against Guzman at his trial.
Vigil said: ‘Vincente asked El Mayo for permission to testify. And that permission was authorized. Chapo Guzman knows this so he would encourage his wife to give authorities information against cartel members.
‘He owes El Mayo no allegiance.’
Guzman, too, is obsessed with daughters Emali and Maria.
The Sinaloa cartel has held its power even after Guzman’s arrest and continues to send millions of dollars of drugs into the US each month under the presumed leadership of Guzman’s longtime partner, Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada (pictured)
Vigil said: ‘He is enamored with them. He loves them very dearly.
‘But he is in a 7ft by 12ft cell 23 hours of the day with minimal interaction with another human being – for the rest of his life. So there’s another huge motivation for Emma to cooperate and make sure she’s around for them.’
Coronel has always been steeped in cartel culture. She grew up in the Mexican state of Durango, part of the golden triangle of drug trafficking along with Chihuahua and Sinaloa.
Vigil said: ‘Her father Inez and her brother Omar were drug traffickers in their own right when she was growing up, so she was introduced to the drug trade at a very early age.
‘In 2007 she married Chapo Guzman when she had barely turned 18 and he was 32 years her senior.
‘At that time the families merged and Chapo Guzman brought in her father and brother to be top lieutenants within the Sinaloa cartel.’
The former enforcer said cartels value trust almost as much as money. And trust among family members is sacrosanct, with Emma receiving Sinaloa cartel secrets from the moment she married.
He added: ‘Emma Coronel is very naive to the American justice system.
‘I believe she felt that if she was not arrested during her husband’s trial or shortly after then she would be free and clear.
‘It was a serious mistake.’