The lawyer defending El Chapo’s wife claims alleged leaks from federal agents have been “designed to kill her family”.
Emma Coronel Aispuro – who married the Sinaloa Cartel boss in 2007 – was detained on Monday, February 22, at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, the US.
She has been charged with distributing cocaine, heroin and other drugs across the US-Mexico border.
The 31-year-old former beauty queen has also been accused of conspiring with others to help her husband escape from Altiplano prison in July 2015.
Sources last week told Vice that Coronel was already prepared to face federal charges when she landed at the airport – hinting at the existence of a potential co-operation agreement between her and investigators.
Another “federal law enforcement insider” also told the New York Post: “Emma wants to get far away from the violence, and has always wanted to live in the US.”
Coronel’s lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman, who also represented El Chapo before he was sentenced to life imprisonment, is furious at the “planting of the story”.
He told WABC radio host Frank Morano: “I’ve been involved with fabrication of evidence, destroying evidence, lying to judges, lying to juries by the feds, but to actually put this out there is an attempt to murder her and her family.
“Let’s be clear about this. She’s got two 9-year-old girls that are exposed, obviously, and to put this out there so flippantly is designed to kill them.”
Lichtman added that “if there was co-operation that was going on or was about to go on, it’s been destroyed.”
“So you’ve got federal agents that don’t care about the fact that they’ve sworn to uphold the law, have violated it and have destroyed any ability to exploit any cooperation by her.
“If there is no co-operation, it was clearly designed to force her to co-operate, to put pressure on her, to target her family.”
Coronel Aispuro is currently being held at a jail in the city of Alexandria, Virginia.
She was raised in the mountains of Durango, part of Mexico’s “Golden Triangle” of narcotics operations.
Coronel first met El Chapo when she was a teenage beauty queen in the northern Mexican city of Durango.
The drug lord reportedly made sure she triumphed in the Coffee and Guava festival.
The pair married after she turned 18 in 2007 and had twin daughters, spending their entire married life with Guzman either in jail or on the run as the leader of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel.
Describing her first encounter with the ruthless criminal, Aispuro earlier told the Los Angeles Times: “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.
“He tends to win over people by his manner of being, of acting, the way he treats people in general.”
Coronel has repeatedly denied any involvement in her family’s criminal activities.