WASHINGTON — A U.S. judge ordered the wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to remain behind bars Tuesday after she was charged with helping her husband run his multibillion-dollar criminal empire.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, a dual U.S.-Mexican citizen, appeared by video conference for an initial court appearance before a federal magistrate judge in Washington, D.C. She was arrested Monday at Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

When asked by the judge if she understood what was happening, Coronel said through the interpreter: “I understood everything very well, thank you.”

Prosecutor Anthony Nardozzi alleged that Coronel “worked closely with the command-and-control structure” of the Sinaloa cartel and conspired to distribute large quantities of drugs, knowing they would be smuggled into the U.S.

Colonel’s arrest was a surprise in part because authorities made no move to arrest her over the past two years, even after she was implicated in her husband’s crimes. During Guzman’s 2019 trial, prosecutors said she helped orchestrate Guzman’s two prison breaks in Mexico.

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