The U.S.-born wife of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera says that Mexican prison officials are killing her husband – slowly.
The 26-year-old former beauty pageant queen, Emma Coronel, who has avoided speaking to the press since marrying Guzmán in 2007, sat down for a long interview with Anabel Hernández of Mexico’s Telemundo. In the 42-minute report, she detailed how prison authorities are preventing her husband from sleeping, which has made his blood pressure spike.
“I fear for his life,” she told Telemundo.
“They say they aren’t trying to punish him for his escape,” she said, referring to the second time he fled from a high-security prison in Mexico in July 2015, through a mile-long tunnel that was dug into the shower in his prison cell. “But of course they are.”
“They won’t let him sleep. He doesn’t have any privacy – not even to go to the bathroom,” she added.
Asked if she thought the Mexican government was trying to kill the former head of the Sinaloa Cartel, Coronel answered, “I don’t know if kill him, but they are definitely trying to get even with him.”
Last week, Guzmán filed a complaint in Mexican federal court about his treatment in Altiplano – the same prison he escaped from last year – alleging much the same mistreatment Coronel made to Telemundo, including that he is deprived of sunlight, barely eats, his head hurts constantly and the lack of sleep has driven his blood pressure to 190 over 100.
Coronel said she’s has only had one 15-minute meeting with Guzmán since his recapture. She said that as far as she knew, Guzmán isn’t involved in the drug trade, much less that he’s the biggest cartel leader in the world.
Rather, she said, “The Mexican government set about to make it appear that Chapo Guzmán is the biggest cartel capo in the world.”
Asked if she was jealous about the flirtatious texting relationship between her husband and actress Kate del Castillo, which led to the Sean Penn interview that appeared in Rolling Stone just before his recapture last month, Coronel answered, “At no moment did I feel jealous of her. There’s no reason.”
Born in California, Coronel has twin 4-year-old daughters by Guzmán who were also born in the United States.
She was with her husband when he was captured by Mexican armed forces in February 2014 at a hotel in the beach resort of Mazatlán, but she said, there were plainclothes U.S. agents present.
“They didn’t interfere with things – they weren’t armed,” Coronel remembered about the English-speaking men. “But they were taking photos and videotaping, trying not to speak much.”
Then she was asked whether they seemed to be supervising the operation.
“Exactly,” Coronel answered. “I thought, ‘Maybe they’ve come to take him directly to the United States.’”
If Guzmán does get extradited this time, she said she would follow him north of the border.
“I would follow him wherever he is,” Coronel said. “I’m in love with him.”