4 Women that Deserve More Recognition than El Chapo’s Wife

The act of selling illegal drugs is an old profession, one that has come with a romanticized idea of love as a drug dealer. From Henry Hill and Karen Hill in Goodfellas to Tommy and Keyshia in Belly, we have created this Ride or Die couple, one where the man provides a lavish lifestyle while the woman “holds it down”. It’s a toxic idea and one that drug dealers everywhere idolize. Because while these movies, TV shows, and publications highlight the riches, and sometimes even the violent and tumultuous nature of these relationships, they hardly ever show the ending, or the downfall. The men are almost always shown as the main character, and the women in their lives are always portrayed as secondary or background characters. We hardly ever see a hero story of a female drug dealer.

Such is the same for Emma Coronel, el Chapo’s wife. From her interviews, down to her testimony, she is 100% classified as “just his wife”. Someone who didn’t know what her husband’s profession was, someone who knew nothing about inner workings or operations. She was just the arm candy to the richest drug dealer in arguably the world. A former (rigged) pageant queen, she is described as beautiful, fashionable, and an Instagram Celebrity of sorts. A ridiculous front to a powerful, and dangerous man. And while his legacy has been reduced to that of an infamous hero, his wife has been catapulted from wife to celebrity. With everyone having an opinion on everything from her outfits to her unending devotion to her husband. Sure, she is a modern icon, but I would argue that it is not for reasons that truly make her commendable.

Women have always taken background roles, so excuse me if I’m not amused by Emma Coronel, even though we share our family’s home state of Durango. You see, I don’t praise women who stand in the shadows of their men. Instead, I am impressed by women who are bosses. Which is why I have put together this list of my Favorite Female Drug Dealers.

Thelma Wright

Female Drug Dealers, Thelma Wright
Thelma and her husband considered the King and Queen Pin of Philly

A self proclaimed Queen Pin, Thelma Wright was tied into the Black Mafia through her husband. But his untimely murder pushed her to the front and center of Philly’s drug trade. Pictures of her during this time show a stylish, beautiful woman at the top of her game. A businesswoman and mother who fell into a way to make money and scaled it into a fortune. Any one who says drug dealing isn’t real business, is strongly mistaken, and Thelma Wright is proof of what can happen when you are placed in a circumstance that you must eat from. And while she continuously credits her late husband and their love for her career, her influence in the early 90’s is undeniable. She currently is a writer and mentor in Philadelphia.

Sandra Avila

Female Drug Dealers, Sandra Avila Beltran
The original “MugShot Bae”, Sandra Beltran dropped jaws at her booking.

Do not let her appearance fool you, Sandra is the first woman in the world to be in charge of a major narcotics operation that spanned Mexico and Columbia. My favorite fun fact about her is that despite her career, she was married twice to police officers in charge of anti-drug task forces. Proving that all it takes is a pretty face to make men waiver on their beliefs. Speaking of El Chapo, he is also one of Sandra’s former lovers. A man in a league of her own. Unlike Emma who was a humble housewife, Sandra was his equal. Someone that has inspired countless novelas, songs, and who is an inspiration for Buchonas everywhere.

Jemeker Thompson

Female Drug Dealers, Jemeker Thompson
Jemeker Thompson during her reign as the Queen of Crack.

The “Queen of Crack” Jemeker is a beautiful and well spoken woman who created a life for herself starting all the way back in High School when she was only selling weed. During the height of the crack epidemic in the 80s, she cemented her place in the local hair community. She orchestrated giant hair shows that she hoped would ease her transition from illegal drug dealer to legitimate hair supplier. Many would describe her as someone who cared about her community, and she would often hire many people for her hair shows, distributing her wealth in a way that created a community for herself and her neighborhood. She is described as a giving and nurturing woman by her community.

Enedina Arrellano Felix

Female Drug Dealers, Enedine Arellano
Enedina with Chalino, a famous singer of drug ballads or “Narco Corridos”

Enedina “La Jefa” (the boss) Arellano Felix was so influential, she was running things before she was running things. A natural born leader, she controlled her 6 brother’s influence during their reign of the Cartel of Tijuana, one of the most dangerous and infamous cartels in Mexico. That is, until she stepped into her rightful role as a leader. Her family was ruthless, and led a violent cartel who is infamous for various murders. Still Enedina, with her bright red lipstick, gold jewelry, and college degree, was the level headed administrator behind all of the money. In 2014, she was officially the last standing leader of her cartel, after her brother was captured and tried.. She runs her operation until this day, living humbly and avoiding all of the glitz and glamor that most would engulf themselves in. Instead she is considered to be one of the smartest cartel leaders, running her operation with all the transparency of a seasoned accountant.

Female drug dealers are a force to be reckoned with. We see most of these women have run complete drug empires, while wearing heels and red lipstick. That is the power of a woman, And even though there are countless stories about male drug dealers, they almost always include a woman’s story line. I laugh at this stereotype of the “male drug dealer”, especially because as times have progressed, they have also changed. A visit to any cannabis event will show you the amount of women that exist within this space. The sale and distribution of illicit drugs is a lucrative business, and it’s ridiculous to think that men are the only ones who have cashed in. I’m excited to see the discussion around women in this industry change from that of background characters to that of the very real women who have and are currently making moves within this space. And while this list includes very real criminals who should not be idolized, I hope you will consider buying your weed from women.

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