Emma Coronel
El Chapo's wife, Emma Coronel is now a free woman after serving time in prison for drug-related crimes. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Emma Coronel, the wife of well-renowned Mexican drug lord and Sinaloa Cartel leader, Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, was released from prison in the United States on Wednesday.

The American-born former teenage beauty queen was locked up three years ago due to her role in aiding El Chapo's lucrative multi-billion-dollar drug empire. She was first arrested in February 2021 at Dulles International Airport, 26 miles from Washington D.C., over accusations of helping run El Chapo's drug empire and aiding his prison escape in 2015 by smuggling a GPS watch to her husband.

Coronel was initially sentenced to three years in prison in November 2021 and a further four years of supervised release would follow. However, the prison sentence was cut down due to the 34-year-old swiftly admitting responsibility for her crimes, whilst she also obliged in handing over $1.5 million in drug trade money to the US government.

Her sentence occurred after she handed herself over to federal authorities and pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges, which included conspiring willingly to distribute drugs plus conspiracy to money laundering. Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana were among the drugs willingly and intentionally distributed into the US over a lengthy period.

Coronel spent her time in prison at a federal facility in Fort Worth, Texas, before being transferred to a halfway house in Long Beach, California in June of this year. After Coronel was released on Wednesday, her attorney, Mariel Colon, offered a statement which read that Coronel is "very happy to move on with this new chapter in her life, and she is ready to be with her girls again".

El Chapo shares two twin daughters with Coronel, who were born in the US in 2011, and qualify as US citizens. Coronel was freely permitted to give birth to her daughters in the US, despite at that point El Chapo being a wanted fugitive for a decade, as she was a US citizen.

Coronel married El Chapo in 2007 when she was just 18 and he was 50 after they had just met at an event for a beauty pageant in Durango, Mexico.

Whilst Coronel may be free, El Chapo is currently serving a life sentence plus 30 years in Colorado at ADX Florence, the most secure super-max prison facility in the US. This was after being found guilty of his role in leading the Sinaloa Cartel, where for over two decades he orchestrated the smuggling of drugs into the US, kidnapped and murdered rival gang members whilst he also bribed politicians and police officers.

El Chapo escaped prison two times, the first included being on the run for 13 years between 2001 and 2014 and the second occasion saw him escape in July 2015, however he was caught again just six months later. The drug kingpin was wanted by many jurisdictions throughout his native Mexico and the US including in Chicago, San Diego, Miami, Texas and New York City.

After being extradited to the US in January 2017, El Chapo remained at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, being placed at the maximum-security wing. In February 2019 he was found guilty of his drug trafficking crimes and later that July, he received his sentence and also had to forfeit $12.6 billion that he had gained from his operations.

During El Chapo's trial period in court, Coronel was supportive of her husband as she would turn up daily and outlined her praise for El Chapo when she told the New York Times that he is "an excellent father, friend, brother, son, partner".

Now that Coronel is no longer a prisoner, she may plan on paying a visit to El Chapo at ADX Florence, with the imprisoned drug lord requesting last month for his wife and their daughters to be permitted to visit him.