Emma Coronel Aispuro has pleaded guiltyu to helping El Chapo run his drug cartel (Image: REUTERS)

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The wife of notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has pleaded guilty to helping her husband run his multi-billion-dollar cartel.

Emma Coronel Aispuro entered the plea during a virtual hearing in Washington DC federal court today.

The former beauty queen, 31, admitted to distributing illegal drugs – cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana, conspiring to launder money, and conspiring to assist her husband's Sinaloa drug cartel.

As part of her plea agreement, Coronel also admitted to conspiring to help her husband escape from a Mexican prison in 2015 through a mile-long tunnel leading to his cell.

She could face up to life in prison for the drug distribution charge alone, however, her deal with prosecutors is likely to result in a lesser sentence.

Emma Coronel Aispuro is a former beauty queen
(Image: JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman
(Image: via REUTERS)

Coronel will be sentenced on September 15.

She'll remain in custody without bond until then.

Coronel wore a green prison uniform and spoke through an interpreter during the hearing when her attorney told District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras his client wants to enter a plea of guilty.

El Chapo was sentenced to life in prison in 2019
(Image: AFP/Getty Images)

She previously pleaded not guilty to the allegations, which link her to crimes committed by her convicted husband.

Coronel was arrested in February at Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

Guzman and Coronel, 31, have been together since at least 2007, and have twin daughters who were born in 2011.

She is a former beauty queen who is more than 30 years younger than her husband.

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As the world’s most powerful drug lord, Guzman ran the Sinaloa cartel, responsible for smuggling cocaine and other drugs around the world during his 25-year reign.

El Chapo was sentenced to life in prison in 2019 and is held in the 'Alcatraz of the Rockies’ at the ADX Florence superman prison in Colorado.

The 63-year-old was found guilty in New York of charges, including drug trafficking and money laundering.