El Chapo: How Sean Penn Led To Capture Of Mexican Drug Lord

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By FEMI SALAWU, with AFP reporting


US actor Sean Penn may have unwittingly led to the capture of elusive drug kingpin, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in the Mexican jungle, a Mexican official said.

The US rock magazine Rolling Stone posted online on Saturday an interview between Penn and Guzman as well as an October 2 picture showing the Oscar-winning actor shaking hands with the mustachioed Sinaloa drug cartel leader, who is wearing a blue shirt.

Penn writes that the 58-year-old Guzman gave him a “compadre” hug when they met at a Mexican jungle clearing and had a seven-hour sitdown followed by phone and video interviews.

“I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world,” Guzman told Penn in a stunning admission of his criminal enterprise over sips of tequila.

“I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats,” Guzman said in the meeting, which Mexican actress Kate del Castillo helped to arrange.

Despite Penn’s cloak-and-dagger efforts to keep the gathering secret, a Mexican federal official told AFP that authorities “had knowledge of this meeting” and that it helped lead to Friday’s recapture of the world’s most wanted man in his northwestern home state of Sinaloa.

The official declined to say whether Penn and del Castillo are being investigated over the clandestine meeting.

Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez said on Friday that Guzman had met with unnamed actors and producers in the hope of making a biopic about himself, which helped locate him. She said it was part of a “new line of investigation,” without elaborating.

Rolling Stone also published a video showing Guzman without a mustache, talking about why he decided to go into drug trafficking after the age of 15 because there were “no job opportunities.”

“Unfortunately, where I grew up, there was and there is no other way to survive,” Guzman said.

Asked if he feels responsible for the high level of addictions in the world, he said: “It’s false. The day that I don’t exist, it won’t reduce drug trafficking.”

Authorities said the marines did not shoot Guzman during the raid because he was accompanied by two women and a girl, but that he hurt himself in a fall.

The world’s most wanted drug baron was arrested after a deadly military raid on a house early Friday in Los Mochis, a coastal city in his native northwestern state of Sinaloa.

Five suspects died and one marine was wounded in the raid. Six people were detained in the operation.

Guzman and his security chief fled through the city’s drainage system.

The wanted men came out of a manhole and stole a car, but they were captured on a road and taken to a motel, where Guzman was pictured seated on a bed wearing a dirty sleeveless shirt — an ignominious end for a kingpin whose billion dollar drug business reaches as far as Asia and Europe.

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