NEW YORK CITY – The trial of notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on Wednesday saw revealing texts he exchanged with his wife -- and with a mistress nicknamed "Fiera," or “wild beast”.
With his wife, Emma Coronel, he discussed giving a gun to his daughter, then a toddler, in 2012. “Our Kiki is fearless, I’m gonna give her an AK-47 so she can hang with me.”
"Kiki" was a code name for Maria Joaquina, one of their twin daughters. She was barely 6 months old at the time. The text was one of many intercepted by the FBI and displayed in Guzman's trial in New York City, where he faces conspiracy charges.
Coronel was shown to be deep in the drug business as well. The texts put her as an intermediary of deals beyond Mexico -- and her father, Inés Coronel Barreras, was said to have discussed selling cocaine in Canada.
“You go ahead and lead a normal life. They just want to see if you're coming to where I am,” Guzman told his wife after detailing how he barely escaped a raid.
While the defendant was brought inside the courtroom in a good mood as usual, his demeanor had changed by the time the texts were displayed. Chapo kept a hard stare throughout this testimony and seemed nervous, moving in his chair and talking to his attorneys. Coronel, who has been coming to court almost every single day to support her husband, was stone-faced.
In the texts, Coronel would call her husband “Don Joaquin,” “Mr. Joaquin” and “Daddy,” while he would call her “love,” “mommy” and “queen”.
But she was not the only "love" in the kingpin’s life. The jurors later heard about texts to Agustina Cabanillas Acosta, described as a mistress.
Chapo asked her, “How are the sales?” She responded, “Non-stop, my love.”
In the text messages, Cabanillas, or "Fiera," also told a friend: “Guess what the jerk (Guzman) told me? He wants a security system at the construction site. ... He wants to spy on me. Guess what, I’m smarter than him.”
Coronel didn’t look surprised by any of this, but also didn’t seem comfortable with the testimony from FBI special agent Stephen Marston. The couple stopped exchanging looks, in a break from their usual courtroom routine. Guzman kept staring at the witness and chatted with his lawyers.
Another witness explained how the FBI obtained the texts. Christian Rodriguez, who said he worked for Guzman from 2008-2012, told the court he installed a secured phone system for the Sinaloa cartel’s boss and associates to chat safely, as well as software allowing Guzman to spy on his wife, mistresses and associates.
Rodriguez later flipped, becoming an FBI informant.
Through the spyware, Chapo was able to access information through others' phones and listen to what the devices' microphones picked up.
“In the mountains in his house, he was with a woman and she had a computer in the house. He would ask me to make the computer special. He would distract her as I would install it,” Rodriguez said.