The wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering - charges associated with her husband's multibillion-dollar criminal empire, reports said Friday.

Wearing a green prisoner's jumpsuit Emma Coronel Aispuro appeared in a Washington federal court to admit helping Guzman run the Sinaloa drugs cartel and plot his tunnel escape from a maximum security prison in Mexico in 2015.

She pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiring to distribute illegal drugs, conspiring to launder money and conspiring to assist the Sinaloa cartel, the reports said.

The 31-year-old former beauty queen was arrested on international drug trafficking charges in February at Dulles International Airport in Virginia and was detained pending trial.

Prosecutors alleged Coronel "worked closely with the command-and-control structure of the Sinaloa cartel" and conspired to distribute large amounts of drugs, knowing they would be smuggled into the U.S., The Associated Press said.

Her lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman said before the hearing that Coronel hoped to someday get back to their young twin daughters. She married Guzman in 2007.

"She's happy to take responsibility and get on with her life. She is happy to put this behind her," ABC quoted Lichtman as saying outside the courthouse.

According to prosecutors, Guzman - as Mexico's most powerful drug boss - ran a cartel that smuggled large quantities of cocaine and other drugs into the U.S. during his 25-year reign.

His "army of sicarios," or killers, kidnapped, tortured and killed those who got in Guzman's way, prosecutors said.

Coronel could face life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million. Guzman, 63, is currently serving a life sentence in Colorado for drug trafficking and money laundering.