DRUG kingpin Joaquín Guzmán’s glam beauty queen wife led a life of ill-gotten luxury until her shock arrest and two-year prison stint for aiding her husband’s criminal empire.
At just 34, Emma Coronel – the so-called “narco princess” – went through a break-neck transformation from a teen starstruck by the notorious cartel boss dubbed El Chapo to becoming a billionaire at the peak of a staggering cocaine trafficking operation.
Now a jailbird, Emma fell from her throne in 2021 when she was charged with drug trafficking and her life was violently flipped upside down.
She was used to flaunting her lavish lifestyle and having billions of dirty dollars in the bank to splurge on private jets and lux holidays.
Sharing social media pictures of her meals at swanky restaurants and enjoying ski trips in the mountains, Emma was the ultimate gangster’s moll.
The drugs billionaire also launched her own clothing line and in 2019 she brazenly appeared on the VH1 reality show Cartel Crew.
But all this luxury came to a crashing halt as she swapped designer clothes for prison overalls when she was sentenced to three years in prison.
Coronel was found guilty of helping her husband run the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel – a multibillion-dollar criminal enterprise controlling underworld smuggling into the US and beyond.
She was also charged with helping him pull off his most legendary feat – his daring tunnel escape from custody in Mexico.
She helped smuggle El Chapo a GPS watch disguised in food, which then enabled those digging the nearly one mile-long tunnel to locate him.
There was a motorbike inside that was used to bring oxygen to the fleeing crook – and speed him out back along the 10m deep cavity.
El Chapo was caught six months later after a shootout with Mexican marines that left five cartel gunmen dead.
Five people were killed and one marine was wounded in the fight.
This was not his only escape as he also broke out of jail in Guatemala in 2001.
He pulled off the elaborate escape by bribing the guards to unlock his cell and push him down the corridor in an empty laundry basket.
Once outside he leapt into the boot of a car and was whisked away.
El Chapo is now serving a life sentence for conspiracy to murder and countless drugs-related offences.
His wife coolly snacked on an iceberg lettuce during his maximum-security trial and told the New York Times: “I don’t know my husband as the person they are trying to show him as – but rather I admire him as the human being that I met, and the one that I married.”
While attending the trial in New York she kept in contact with her and her husbands two seven-year-old daughters.
The girls – Maria Joaquina and Emali Guadalupe – were at school in Mexico at the time.
She said: “I have had to be separated from my daughters to accompany him now that I am the only person in his family that can be here in New York with him”.
She added: “He always was a father very present to the attention of our daughters.”
After her husband was sentenced to life in prison she reportedly walked past the waiting paparazzi to her car “like a celebrity leaving a club.”
This was after she claimed she was just an innocent wife and mother who ran an irrigation farm with her husband.
El Chapo has pleaded with a judge that his daughters and his wife be permitted to visit him in his supermax federal prison in Colorado.
The early release of the mother-of-two is only the latest twist in the tale of her extraordinary life.
Emma is the daughter of Ines Coronel Barreras – a convicted drug lord currently a serving a ten-year prison sentence – and was no stranger to the narcotics scene when she met Guzman.
Her rancher dad was known to have grown marijuana and opium poppies and her uncle was “” Coronel was one of El Chapo’s most trusted men.
El Chapo first set his sights on a then 17-year-old Emma at a beauty pageant in 2006 – while the 47-year-old reportedly carried an AK-47.
Emma and El Chapo hit it off- and according to the locals they were engaged by the time the pageant was finished.
The mobster’s teenage muse was suspiciously declared the winner of the pageant – leading many to suspect a bribe had changed hands on Guzman’s orders.
Emma later said: “I would say what won me over was his way of talking, how he treated me, the way we began to get along — first as friends, and from that came everything else”.
However, she was not the first to fall for the gangster.
He had two wives before Emma and fathered three children with the first and four with the second.
During her court case Emma was accused of being a messenger between her husband, cartel members and his sons whilst he was on the run and in prison.
His sons are known as the Chapitos – “Little Chapos” – and are key members of the cartel.
Prosecutors said she was well aware of her husband’s criminal activities and “understood the scope of the Sinaloa cartel’s drug trafficking”.
At her sentencing, Coronel requested leniency for the sake of her children.
She pleaded: “I beg you to not allow them to grow up without the presence of a mother”.
The Sinaloa Cartel is one of the worlds most violent and powerful drugs rings in the world.
They are known for kidnapping and beheading their victims and will sometimes post videos on the internet as a warning to rival gangs.
Although It’s not clear what her plans after her release it’s thought she may travel to Oregon to visit her husband after his recent letters.
However despite her newfound freedom Emma is not out of the woods yet.
Although she may have thought all would be smooth sailing after her release this is now not necessarily the case.
Mexican prosecutors are deliberating whether to press charges against the beauty queen and have refused to put her mind at rest as they announced they won’t be pressing charges “for now”.
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