All In The (Guzmán) Family
United States Department of the Treasury
January 11, 2013

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The U.S. Treasury Department instilled sanctions against the father-in-law of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán on Wednesday.

Ines Coronel Barreras is the father of Emma Coronel Aispuro, the beauty queen Guzmán is currently married to (she’s his third wife). The sanctions prohibit U.S. citizens from doing business with him. Regrettably, Treasury gives no indication of the nature of Coronel’s businesses or those he does business with, something the department hasn’t been squeamish about publishing on other organized crime members in the past.

The agency also targeted an arguably far more interesting connection, Damaso Lopez Nuñez. Lopez was internal security director for Puente Grande when Guzmán escaped the maximum security prison in 2001. But I’m still fixating on Guzmán’s family. I can’t remember the last time a druglord’s family generated nearly as much news as the druglord himself. There was the question of Guzmán’s wife, who gave birth to twins in a Los Angeles hospital in August 2011. Then a woman claiming to be his daughter was arrested and summarily deported back to Mexico. She was never charged with a crime beyond carrying a fraudulent visa, though.

Then last month, Reforma uncovered an interesting murder in Mexico City: Cinthya Mercedes Romero Verdugo, who, witnesses had told federal investigators, was Chapo’s godmother (more specifically, his comadre, which could also simply be a woman he trusts like family).

In 2012, Treasury targeted Griselda Lopez Perez, a former wife (September), and another former wife and son, Maria Alejandrina Salazar Hernandez and Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar (June).

That’s four family members and a close ally. It sometimes makes me wonder if law enforcement isn’t slowly circling Guzmán in.