NEW YORK: Accused Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is an “excellent father, friend, brother, son and partner,” his young wife said as his landmark trial in New York wound up.
“Everything that has been said in court about Joaquin, the good and the bad, has done nothing to change how I think about him after years of knowing him,” Emma Coronel, 29, said in a message on her Instagram account late Thursday.
In his almost three-month-long trial, Guzman, the 69-year-old former head of the Sinaloa drugs cartel known widely as El Chapo, or Shorty, was accused of smuggling hundreds of tons of drugs into the United States over the past quarter-century.
On Monday, the jury starts deliberating on its verdict. If convicted, Guzman is likely to spend the rest of his life in a US jail, having twice escaped from Mexican prisons before being extradited to the United States two years ago.
During the trial, which closed Thursday, Guzman’s former henchmen and colleagues said he had ordered the deaths of dozens of rivals, underlings suspected of being snitches and police officers who refused to take his bribes.
Part of the evidence presented by US prosecutors indicates that Coronel was at the very least an accomplice in Guzman’s escape from Mexico’s Altiplano prison in 2015.
She has not however been charged with any crime and showed up almost every day in court to be with her husband.
A former right-hand man of the drugs lord said that when Guzman was jailed between 2014 and 2015, he used Coronel’s prison visits to pass messages to accomplices planning his escape via a mile (1.5 kilometer) long tunnel from the shower stall of his cell.
During the trial the prosecution played a recording of a phone call between Coronel and Guzman, in which she passed the telephone to her father. Guzman then informed his father-in-law about an illicit drugs shipment into the US.
“My name was often mentioned and called into question,” admitted Coronel, a tall Mexican-American woman with long dark hair, with whom Guzman has two daughters.
“I can only say that I have done nothing to be ashamed of. I am not perfect, but I consider myself a good human being who never intentionally hurt anyone,” she said.
The US authorities do not allow visits or phone calls between Guzman and his wife. They also forbade the couple from briefly hugging each other in court during the trial.