El Chapos model wife to be sentenced amid rising role of women in cartels

Glamorous women are playing an increasingly prominent role in drug cartels as El Chapo's model wife faces a prison sentence.

Emma Coronel Aispuro pleaded guilty to numerous charges relating to notorious drug lord El Chapo's criminal empire.

Her hearing comes after several recent court cases that have exposed how women are playing important roles in Latin American drug cartels.

Emma is expected to receive a 10-year sentence when she learns her fate in a Washington DC court room on Wednesday, the Sunday Telegraph reports.

She met El Chapo when she was just 17 during when she was appearing at a beauty pageant in Mexico. They married soon afterwards.

Her hubby is currently serving a life sentence in a maximum security jail in Colorado.

At his trial in 2019, Emma became known for wearing designer clothing and bags. But it has since been revealed she carved out an unusual role in the Sinaloa cartel, helping to control access to her husband.

Emma pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana for several years.

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She also entered a guilty plea for a money laundering conspiracy charge and engaging in transactions with a foreign drug trafficker.

After El Chapo's arrest in 2014, she helped him to direct the cartel from prison and plotted his dramatic escape from jail.

Days after Emma's first court appearance two months ago, Jessica Oseguera, the 34-year-old daughter of El Chapo's rival cartel boss Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, was handed a two and a half year sentence for helping her dad and his cartel launder money.

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Cecilia Farfán-Méndez, a scholar of US-Mexican studies at the University of California in San Diego, said: "Female participation in organised crime is not an exception.

"In fact, it can be quite advantageous for criminal groups who benefit from the fact that law enforcement and the media rarely think of women as high ranking members with decision-making power."

Last month a Chicago court sentenced Guadalupe Fernández Valencia, known as "la Patrona" or "the Boss" to 10 years in jail. She worked for years as the right-hand woman of El Chapo's son, moving huge quantities of drugs to the US and laundering the proceeds in Mexico.

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In July, Luz Irene Fajardo Campos was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Also known as "the Boss", she sourced cocaine in Colombia and trafficked it through Mexico to the US.

It is not just in Mexico where women are becoming increasingly prominent.

In February, Colombian police captured Yarenis Isabel Sánchez Álvarez, a 24-year-old contract killer for Colombia's biggest drugs gang.

Prof Arlene Tickner, the author of a study on women and organised crime, said: "In the rare instances in which women exercise leadership within criminal structures, this is usually the result of sharing sentimental or family ties with male leaders."

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