Sean Penn and Mexican actress Kate del Castillo secretly interviewed Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán while he was still at large. The Hollywood actor wrote a long and detailed essay published late Saturday by the Rolling Stone magazine, a day after Guzmán was recaptured by Mexican authorities. The contact between the celebrities and the most wanted drug boss helped authorities to locate him.
“El Chapo” was recaptured on Friday during an operation in the northwestern Mexican town of Los Monchis.
“Another important lead that allowed us to locate him, was the discovery that Guzman intended to make a movie about his life,” Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez declared on Friday. “To that end, he established communication with actresses and producers… In fact, the surveillance allowed us to document the meetings between these people and his (Chapo’s) lawyers.”
Penn wrote that he was not part of any film project, but had intentions to interview the drug boss for the magazine. He described many forms of encrypted communications, including TracPhones and anonymous e-mail addresses, but investigators still managed to intercept phone calls between the celebrities and the drug lord, who is responsible for more than half of all the heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana that come into the United States.
Mexican authorities did not name Penn or del Castillo, but they did have contact with Guzmán. “There is no question in my mind but that DEA and the Mexican government are tracking our movements”, wrote Penn in the
“There is no question in my mind but that DEA and the Mexican government are tracking our movements”, wrote Penn in the Rolling Stone piece, referring to the time when they were preparing themselves for the meeting with “El Chapo.”
The interview took place in October last year, three months after the drug lord escaped from a high-security jail in Mexico.
A Mexican official who spoke in condition of anonymity told news agency AFP on Sunday that authorities are yet to determine whether Sean and Kate committed a crime by interviewing Guzmán. The official clarified that reporters are allowed to interview drug cartel suspects, but “they (Penn and del Castillo) are not journalists.”
The actress is the one that was first contacted by El Chapo’s people after she expressed her support to him on social media, according to Penn’s essay. Not only did she help the Hollywood actor arrange the interview, but she also acted as interpreter for him on their journey.
A Mexican law enforcement told NBC News Sunday that Mexican authorities have intentions to speak with the American actor and Latin television star, but no official comments on the matter have been made public.
“I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world,” Guzman told Penn, as written in the interview. “I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.”
After the first seven-hour long meeting in October, the celebrities were supposed to meet Guzmán again, but the drug lord decided to answer their questions through a video instead, due to security concerns. Rolling Stone only published a fragment of about two minutes, but Penn wrote in the article that Guzmán admitted in the video that “it’s a reality that drugs destroy.” However, he pointed out that global drug sales clearly indicate how much people want them.
According to Penn’s essay, the drug boss also declared in the video that he did not consider himself responsible for drug addiction in the world. In fact, he believes that the problem will not decrease whatsoever the day he no longer exists.
When asked on several TV talk shows on Sunday about the drug boss’ recapture, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough expressed his concern about the heroin and opioid addiction epidemic in the U.S.
“We’re going to stay on top of this with our Mexican counterparts until we get that back in the box. But El Chapo is behind bars and that’s where he should stay”, he declared.
Find the interview “El Chapo” Guzmán gave to Sean Penn here
Source: NBC News