WHILE her husband awaits trial in a high-security Manhattan lockup, Emma Coronel Aispuro is living the high life in Mexico.
The sexy, young wife of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera is often photographed smiling in skimpy bikinis at picture-postcard beaches — images featured prominently on Instagram accounts bearing her name.
In other photos, posted to a handful of social media sites, the brunette bombshell wears tight, skinny jeans paired with stilettos and a Prada purse. With her flawless makeup, and fire-engine red lips, she could easily pass for a socialite on a luxury shopping trip.
In one series of pictures uploaded last month, Coronel Aispuro, 29, appears in a tight silver, pencil skirt, sky-high nude heels and a cleavage-baring V-neck top. The former teenage beauty queen stands proudly in front of a life-sized Barbie-themed palace she had commissioned for the seventh birthday party of her twin daughters. Other photos and a video show grand arcs made of pink and white balloons and a table featuring a three-tiered pink birthday cake, Barbie-themed menus and party hats. A glittering chandelier hangs from a pink ceiling at the party for Emaly and Maria Joaquina in Culiacan, the capital of the northwestern state of Sinaloa, where their father, El Chapo, once ruled as the world’s most powerful drug trafficker and leader of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel.
“The whole story with her is so surreal,” said a retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent. “She goes around and flaunts her wealth and lifestyle in front of everyone’s face.”
Guzman, whose underworld name “El Chapo” is Mexican slang for “shorty,” was extradited to the US from Mexico last year, and his trial on money-laundering and drug trafficking charges is set to begin in a federal courtroom in Brooklyn on Nov. 5.
He is considered one of the world’s most notorious criminals, and is accused of killing thousands of people, and raking in billions of dollars from the export of cocaine and other drugs.
But his vast assets have yet to be seized, allowing Coronel Aispuro and other members of his extended family to continue their opulent lifestyles.
“There is no political will in Mexico to seize El Chapo’s or any other drug trafficker’s assets in the country,” a federal law enforcement source told The Post, estimating that the drug kingpin’s family has access to “hundreds of millions” of dollars in cash, real estate and other holdings.
The country has only one judge and two investigators who have been assigned to track down the assets of drug traffickers and other criminals, said the source.
El Chapo’s children from his previous marriages are also taking advantage of his wealth. Social media posts show Jesus Alfredo Guzman-Salazar and Ivan Archivaldo Guzman, two of the outlaw’s sons, driving souped-up Audi Spyders that retail for more than $220,000.
Both sons are wanted on drug trafficking charges. Last month, Alfredo, 35, who is also known by his underworld moniker “Alfredillo,” was added to the DEA’s 10 Most Wanted List. Alfredo was indicted in Illinois in 2009. The reward for information leading to his capture was recently increased to $5 million.
But with so much cash at their disposal, the bounty may mean little in Mexico. The Guzman clan’s ready access to a fortune means they can easily pay off anyone.
“A lot of it is tied back to corruption,” said the source. “And money buys access, and it buys protection.”
For this reason, El Chapo was able to bribe prison guards and even Mexican law enforcement officials when he made two daring escapes from jail in his home country.
And when he famously tunnelled out of Mexico’s highest security prison in 2015, Coronel Aispuro was waiting for him on the other side, federal law enforcement sources told The Post.
Mexican law enforcement believe that El Chapo climbed down through a narrow two-by-two foot hole dug under the shower stall in his cell at the high-security Altiplano Prison. That opening led to a mile-long tunnel that was equipped with a motorcycle on rails. The tunnel led to a construction site, where a ladder led to a trap door. Coronel Aispuro was waiting near the construction site, the federal source told The Post.
For almost six months, Guzman, his wife by his side, eluded the countrywide manhunt, even meeting with Hollywood actor Sean Penn when he was on the run. El Chapo rose to near-mythic outlaw status as the country’s most famous fugitive.
And “Emma is his biggest supporter,” the former DEA agent told The Post.
In 2016, after her husband was recaptured in Mexico, Coronel Aispuro began a lobbying effort that took her to Washington to plead his case before the Organisation of American States. She alleged that Mexican authorities were violating El Chapo’s human rights in retaliation for his tunnel escape. She told a Mexican TV reporter that he was being deprived of sleep in solitary confinement and that prison authorities were trying to “kill him slowly.”
After months on the run, it was a taco order that led to El Chapo’s capture at a small beachfront city in his Sinaloa stronghold. The Mexican military had the house, which belonged to one of El Chapo’s tunnel diggers, under surveillance. When they saw one of the residents go out for a huge order of tacos at midnight, they surrounded the home. Although El Chapo managed to escape, the military apprehended him hours later and hauled him away to jail as authorities negotiated his extradition to the US. He faces a total of six indictments in this country, including one in federal court in Brooklyn where he is charged with drug trafficking and laundering billions of dollars in drug profits.
Once in New York, Coronel Aispuro repeated the same concerns about her husband’s incarceration. She stood outside federal court in Brooklyn, where she has faithfully attended most of El Chapo’s hearings, wearing designer sunglasses and tight jeans. She has been spotted in the city walking with her daughters, who are always identically dressed. She told reporters that Guzman’s solitary confinement was making him severely depressed, and even complained about the quality of city water and what he was allowed to watch on TV.
A federal judge has refused repeated requests to allow Coronel Aispuro to visit her husband at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, where he has been held in solitary confinement on the ultra-secure 10th floor since his extradition in January 2017. The 10th floor — known as “10 South” — cells have previously been reserved for alleged terrorists and arms dealers.
Coronel Aispuro was recently allowed to communicate with her husband via written messages, which are subject to rigorous screening.
“She’s too much of a security risk,” said the federal law enforcement source. “Given that he has escaped so many times, no one wants to take any chances that he is giving his wife directions for a new escape attempt.”
Unable to communicate directly with her husband, who has no internet access in jail, Coronel Aispuro posted heartfelt messages on her social media sites shortly after he was extradited from Mexico. Recently, she posted a copy of Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” as a background photo on her Twitter account. Picasso painted his best known work, which shows scenes of death and suffering, in response to the Nazi bombing of Guernica, a village in northern Spain.
“I could never forget you, not after loving you so much” she tweeted on Jan. 30, 2017, nearly two weeks after El Chapo was extradited.
A few weeks later — on Feb. 11 — she wrote, “Learning how to cry is not a sign of weakness.”
Coronel Aispuro married El Chapo on her 18th birthday — July 2, 2007 — and shortly after he helped her secure her win as the local Coffee and Guava Queen in rural Sinaloa. She met El Chapo, who is more than 30 years her senior, at a party organised by her father, Ines Coronel Barreras, a member of the Sinaloa Cartel.
An American citizen, she was born outside San Francisco while her Mexican mother was visiting relatives there. In 2011, just before her twins were due, El Chapo reportedly urged his young wife to return to the US for their birth so that they could be US citizens.
Now a single mother, Coronel Aispuro says she is concerned about her family’s privacy and safety on the eve of El Chapo’s high-profile trial.
“I ask that people not post comments about my daughters,” she wrote in a rare “press release” sent to various Mexican news outlets. “I don’t want them in the news because they don’t really understand.”
But according to Antonio Tizoc, the Sinaloa-based photographer who posted the video and photos of the preparations for the Barbie-themed birthday party last month, it was Coronel Aispuro herself who gave him permission to publicise the images.
Even one of El Chapo’s Washington-based attorneys told The Post he was “surprised” that Coronel Aispuro allowed the birthday party images to be posted on the web.
And as recently as last month, Coronel Aispuro continued to appear in sexy online posts. In a Sept. 14 post, she sported in a strappy black bikini while lounging on a rocky patch of beach, her long black hair cascading down her back, on one of two Instagram accounts that bears her name.
“Today is a beautiful day so smile, love and … most of all live intensely because time is fleeting,” said the text in Spanish that accompanied the picture.
The post garnered nearly 3,000 “likes” with mostly Spanish-language fans — she has more than 268,000 followers — wishing her well and one Instagram user saying, “You are super beautiful princess. Take care of yourself.”
“Wow, you are a very beautiful lady,” said another online admirer in English.
But while she says she is grateful for all the supportive comments and admitted that “the private pictures” of her are legitimate, Coronel Aispuro says she is no longer manages her social media accounts.
“I want to clarify that I don’t have any social media sites and that I am not the one who is posting those pages,” she wrote in her letter to the Mexican press. “I never wanted to be in a situation to have my life exposed. I am not interested in exposing my life in front of millions of people who I don’t know.”
She ended her note to the media with the following message: “I ask what I have always shown everyone, and that is respect.”
Originally published as El Chapo’s wife flaunts her wealth