The young wife of Mexico's most wanted drug lord has given birth to twin girls at a hospital in California, according to a newspaper report.
Emma Coronel, the 22-year-old wife of Joaquin Guzman, crossed the border in mid-July and delivered her daughters at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster on Aug. 15, the Los Angeles Times reported on its website Monday.
Coronel, a former beauty queen who holds U.S. citizenship, returned to Mexico after they were born. Because they were born in the U.S., her children also qualify for American citizenship.
Birth certificates listed Coronel as the mother of the girls, but the spaces for the father's name are blank. U.S. law enforcement officials, who tracked her movements even before she traveled to Lancaster, told the Times that Coronel was not arrested because there are no charges against her.
While Coronel might have been able to provide useful information about Guzman's location, detaining her would not necessarily have helped to apprehend the drug kingpin because he is protected by an army of heavily armed men and tends to stay in hard-to-reach areas of Mexico's highlands, officials told the L.A. Times.
Nicknamed "El Chapo", Guzman is a multibillionaire who is widely considered the world's wealthiest drug trafficker.
Coronel is believed to be the third or fourth wife of Guzman, the 54-year-old head of Mexico's most powerful drug-trafficking gang, the Sinaloa cartel. The couple met during a contest to choose the queen of the coffee and guayaba festival of Canelas in the state of Durango, according to Mexican broadcaster Univision. Coronel won the competition and married Guzman the day she turned 18 at a lavish wedding in central Mexico in 2007.
U.S. authorities have placed a $5-million bounty on Guzman's head and allege that he and the Sinaloa cartel control the majority of cocaine and marijuana trafficking into the U.S. from Mexico and Colombia.
Under Guzman, Sinaloa has grown bloodier and more powerful, expanding eastward to the corridor between Sonora and Arizona and waging a fierce battle for Chihuahua state bordering Texas.
Guzman's operation may also be behind a surge in violence in the coastal state of Veracruz as he challenges the Zetas' dominance, the Times reported.
Guzman reached a new level of fame — or infamy — two years ago when he made Forbes magazine's list of the 67 "World's Most Powerful People." At No. 41, he was just below Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei while topping Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez — No. 67 — and France's Nicolas Sarkozy — No. 56.