Emma Coronel, wife of the notorious Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, was released from jail on September 13. Coronel was arrested in 2021 on drug trafficking charges.

The Bureau of Prisons confirmed her release date a year early, marking the end of a chapter in the dramatic story that intertwined love, crime and family.

At 34, United States-born Coronel had was sentenced to three years after admitting her role in supporting the illicit operations of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

However, amidst the legal tangles and testimonies, what stood out was the story of a woman who met and fell in love with Guzman at a young age, tying her destiny with his.

From beauty queen to El Chapo’s wife, how Coronel met the Sinaloa cartel’s leader

Coronel was just 18 when she married Guzman, meeting him during her reign as a beauty queen in Durango.

Often described as a “bulletproof” union, the couple share twin daughters. In an erased Instagram post, Coronel wrote next to a photo of her husband: “It is not the height, nor the weight, nor the muscles, nor the beauty that make you a great person. It is the heart and the humility. #elchapo.”

Coronel’s presence during Guzman’s trial was symbolic and a testament to their relationship’s strength. Yilber Vega, a CNN correspondent, noted, “Every time Joaquin entered the courtroom, his first instinct was to look for Emma and their daughters in the crowd.”

Emma Coronel was called the “Capa” for her involvement with the cartel

As much as their love story fascinated the world, Coronel’s involvement in Guzmán’s operations became increasingly evident during investigations. Conversations intercepted by authorities, highlighting her liaisons with cartel members, placed her firmly within the web of the drug trade.

One such conversation between Coronel, her father, Ines Coronel, and Guzman was particularly revealing. Guzmán’s instructions to avoid radio communications and only use encrypted mobile devices hinted at the careful choreography of their operations. While those exchanges raised eyebrows, Coronel’s legal representation refuted any claims of wrongdoing. 

During El Chapo’s trial, an important witness revealed how Coronel orchestrated Guzman’s infamous escape from Altiplano prison. It wasn’t until 2021 that she accepted the charges against her.

Their “bulletproof” marriage endures

Beyond the trial and legal battles, anecdotal stories spoke of the bond between the couple. Coronel arranged to retrieve Guzman’s belongings after one of his escapes in Los Cabos, Mexico. Their exchanges, from discussing personal purchases to orchestrating cartel operations, painted a picture of a couple deeply involved in each other’s lives.

Coronel has also said that she intends to visit El Chapo once she is allowed. Guzman insisted on seeing her in several letters. However, it is uncertain if she will be allowed to visit him alongside their daugthers since he is in the Colorado Supermax.

When asked about the possibility of an encounter between El Chapo and Coronel, ABC’s Chief Legal Analyst Gil Soffer said, “The likelihood is pretty low. He is subjected to special administrative measures, which are very restrictive measures put in place against the most high-risk prisoners.”

Adding, “Such prisoners pose the greatest danger of running a criminal enterprise or posing a threat to other people. And he’s on that list. It’s unlikely he’s going get what he’s asking for.”