Sean Penn Secretly Interviewed ‘El Chapo, ’ Mexican Drug Lord

Details of how Joaquin Guzman was captured thanks to meeting with Hollywood star emerge as Mexican authorities prepare to extradite drug baron to the US


Sean Penn interviews fugitive drug lord Joaquin Guzman -Rolling Stone


In October 2015, weeks before his capture, while he was evading authorities following an escape from a Mexican prison last year, Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman secretly met with Hollywood star Sean Penn for an exclusive interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

The raid of Guzmán’s residence in Mexico resulted in serious gunfire and left five suspects dead. Six suspects from the compound were also arrested. According to Mexican authorities, the raid was the work of six months of investigation and they initially were planning on storming Guzmán’s hideout in October – the same month Penn visited the cartel head – but decided to abort the mission because Guzmán was with women and children.

The head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, met Penn multi times in the Mexican wilderness jungle on top of a mountain, where they were surrounded by 100 of his henchmen as they spoke.

Their interview was the first Guzman had given in decades, and it marks the first time he has admitted to operating a drugs empire, while he told Penn that he does not consider himself a violent person. In Interview after a previous arrest in 1993, he had insisted he was just a farmer growing corn and beans.

Guzman told Penn in a video recording he had tried drugs but isn’t a drug addict and hadn’t taken any drugs in the last 20 years, the report says. He started to grow and sell marijuana and poppies at the age of 15 to survive, he said, according to the report

In Rolling Stone he said: “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, aeroplanes, trucks and boats.”

He tells Penn that he had only started growing marijuana and poppies because there was no other way for his impoverished family to survive, and although his cartel has killed hundreds of people, he denies he’s violent.


Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman recaptured,   Los Mochis,   Mexico - 08 Jan 2016

“Look, all I do is defend myself, nothing more, ” he says. “But do I start trouble? Never.”

Guzman also refuses to accept that he is responsible for the deaths of millions through drugs, telling Penn that even if he died, the world’s drug supply would continue.

Dressed in a bright blue silk shirt and black jeans, Guzman is also filmed in a video for the magazine by actor Kate del Castillo, who herself once played a drug kingpin in a US television series.

Penn apparently got involved in the interview through Ms del Castillo, whom Guzman had approached to make a Hollywood movie about his life.

During the seven hours of interviews, in which the men discuss topics ranging from drug trafficking to Middle East politics, Guzman tells Penn that he had tried drugs but had never been an addict.

He admits: “Drugs destroy. Unfortunately where I grew up there was no other way and there still isn’t a way to survive, no way to work in our economy to be able to make a living.”

The Rolling Stones account also provides more details on Guzman’s escape from prison in July, when he slipped through a hole in the shower of his prison cell into a kilometre long tunnel in a devastating blow for Mexican authorities.

Penn writes that a team of engineers had been flown to Germany for special training to dig the tunnel while a motorbike on rails had been modified to run in the low-oxygen environment.

A Mexican law enforcement official said Guzman’s secret interview with the actor had helped authorities locate his whereabouts.

Mexico Attorney General Arely Gomez said the drug baron’s contact with Penn and del Castillo for a biopic had led authorities to Guzman. He said they had previously traced him to a rural part of Durango state in October but aorted their raid at the time because he was with two women and a child.

Mexico today expressed its willingness to extradite Guzman to the US in a reversal of its previous position. It is expected that he will be extradited within six months.

In the Rolling Stone video, Guzman is asked if he thinks authorities want him dead. He disagrees, saying they would just send him back to prison.

“I know one day I will die, ” he says. “I hope it’s of natural causes.”



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