After two months of testimony about his narcotics empire, the Brooklyn trial of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán took a dive into his private life on Wednesday.
FBI agent Stephen Marston took the stand and told the federal jury how authorities accessed the Sinaloa cartel leader’s text messages with his beauty-queen wife and mistresses—and what they said.
Here are today’s biggest revelations:
El Chapo’s Paranoia About His Wife Let the FBI Spy on Him
The cartel had a Colombian IT expert doing work for it, and El Chapo asked him to install Flexi-spy snoopware onto his wife Emma Coronel’s phone, the New York Daily News reported. The drug lord didn’t know it, but the FBI had flipped the techie, Cristian Rodriguez. Agents subpoenaed Flexi-spy and obtained the messages between the fugitive and his wife and girlfriends.
Rodriguez, testimony on Tuesday showed, was key to the U.S. efforts to bring Guzman to justice. As The Washington Post reported, Rodriguez’s cooperation allowed law enforcement to listen in on hundreds of phone calls that allegedly showed El Chapo was running the cartel.
The systems engineer has already been paid $460,000 for being an FBI informant, an agent testified on Wednesday. He may separately claim an additional $5 million reward from the State Department for information leading to the capture of drug-trafficker Jorge Cifuentes.
Drug Kingpins, They’re Just Like Us
Some of the messages showed El Chapo and Coronel behaving like any other husband and wife, “cooing over how cute their twin daughters are and talking about Emma’s enchiladas,” New York Times reporter Alan Feuer tweeted.
Guzman, 61, regularly called his glamorous 29-year-old wife, whom he married in 2007 while on the run, “my love” and “mommy.” She used terms of endearment like “Don Joaquin,” “Papi,” and “Mr. Joaquín.”
In one text message, Coronel, a teenage beauty pageant winner, teased him: “Recently, I’ve been told [our daughter] looks more like you—but she has a sweet disposition.”
El Chapo’s Idea of Pillow Talk
But according to Feuer, the domestic chit-chat was interspersed with the grim talk of the narcotics trafficking business, with the couple talking about their girls in one breath and in the next “talking about whether Chapo’s soldiers were slaughtered in a gunfight.”
“Our [daughter] is fearless, I’m going to give her an AK-47 so she can hang with me,” Chapo reportedly told his wife on his twin girls’ six-month birthday.
The New York Post reported that Chapo warned his wife about a raid and ordered her to hide the guns at one of their houses. He also recounted details of a February 2012 raid in which he was almost captured but jumped out the window.
“Oh, love, that’s horrible,” she said.
He said he needed supplies: underwear, shirts, shampoo and black sneakers.
“Is there anything else you need?” Coronel messaged Chapo, the Post reported.
El Chapo’s Wife Sits Through Testimony About His Infidelity
Chapo also used Flexi-spy on two of his mistresses’ phones, Feuer reported, so the FBI was able to access their messages.
As the back-and-forths were read aloud in court—including one that revealed Guzman had paid for Agustina Cabanillas Acosta’s liposuction—Coronel reportedly sat stone-faced.
“How are the sales going?” Chapo purportedly texted Acosta one day.
“Oh, like busy bees,” she reportedly wrote back. “Non-stop, my love.”
In another message, Chapo reputedly told her, “You are the most important person to me, I love you.”
Though once Acosta realized she was being spied on, she reportedly texted a friend: “Fuck that.”
She added: “I’m way smarter than him.”