A former Mexican legislator better known as a mistress of accused Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman retook the stand at his trial on Tuesday, but was upstaged by an apparent sartorial statement of solidarity between the alleged drug kingpin and his wife.
Just before Lucero Sanchez continued the testimony she began last week, describing both her personal and professional relationship working for the Sinaloa cartel, Guzman appeared in court wearing a nearly identical outfit being sported by his well-dressed wife, Emma Coronel: Burgundy velvet blazers – hers more fitted – white shirt, and black pants.
It’s believed Guzman’s courtroom outfits are brought to court by Coronel, who is not allowed to visit, or even speak with her husband. But she’s been seen entering the courtroom with various garment bags, which presumably can be passed along back to Guzman.
Defense attorneys for Guzman joked about the outfits, which to many seemed like a message of solidarity aimed at Sanchez. Who in turn offered the court much more detail Tuesday about the years she spent as not just El Chapo’s Sinaloa partner, but his top mistress.
Among the most-discussed details Sanchez has revealed in court was her account of how she and Guzman once escaped capture through a tunnel, and how they exited through a place that led to a river in Culiacan, Mexico. On a map, she pointed at the locations for the house they were in, and where the tunnel led.
“We were waiting. He (Guzman) was desperate. He was telling the guy that we needed to steal a car and run away,” Sanchez testified.
Sanchez found out days later, after they went off in different directions, that Guzman had been arrested. But even then, she testified, their communications continued through letters and a prison visit – which was later leaked to the press, eventually costing her job as a local official in 2016.
On cross examination, Sanchez was pressed by Guzman’s lawyers, who suggested she was lying about her relationship and experiences with him in a bid to shorten her own jail time. She was arrested in 2017 while crossing the border from Tijuana to San Diego, and she pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy charges based on her Sinaloa activity. She faces a minimum of 10 years to life in federal prison.
As Sanchez was dismissed, El Chapo – who had been staring at her for much of the morning while she sat on the stand – witness all morning, looked at her as she passed in front of him. She only looked at him out of the corner of her eye, and was taken by the U.S. marshals.