CHICAGO -- Emma Coronel is out of prison while her husband Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman remains locked up for life. But the I-Team has learned it is Mrs. El Chapo who is facing the feds doubling down on her freedom.
A new, broad and unusual court order now allows federal agents to search her, at any time, without a warrant, including unannounced searches of her home, computers and phones.
Nearly eight years ago, when Mexican marines stormed a Mazatlán apartment, the target-escapee and fugitive, El Chapo, was in bed with his wife; their twin toddler daughters were sleeping nearby.
Seven years later, with Chapo prosecuted in the U.S. and imprisoned forever, Coronel was arrested on trafficking charges, ; an alleged participant in her husband's narco empire which is responsible for 80 percent of Chicago's illicit drug trade.
The California native pleaded guilty and served a shortened two and a half year sentence in a U.S. prison. She was released in mid-September; her freedom was celebrated in an LA nightclub visit that was pasted all over social media.
Coronel, a former teenage beauty pageant queen in Mexico, was freed with four years of court supervision.
Newly filed restrictions put a hard crimp on her freedom, requiring that she "submit to a search, at any time, without a warrant by any law enforcement."
The warrantless, unannounced search covers herself, her property, house, residence, vehicle, papers, computers, cell phones and so on.
"The search and seizure condition is a pretty restrictive one. That's pretty onerous," said ABC7 chief legal analyst and former federal prosecutor in Chicago, Gil Soffer.
He said it's likely the feds believe El Chapo's wife was going to commit a new crime, not that she already has.
"It probably suggests that the government has reason now to believe that she's going to do something inappropriate and worrisome; that she will try to conceal documents, funds, contraband, where she lives; that she may be trying to make financial transactions that she shouldn't be making and so they want these more onerous restrictions," Soffer said.
Although federal supervised release guidelines clearly cite upgraded search and seizure as a "special" condition, that is not how the attorney for El Chapo's wife sees things.
In New York, Coronel's lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman told the I-Team that these broad warrantless searches are "a standard condition for released inmates" and he says that's why they didn't object to the more stringent imposition on her probation.