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Mexico probing actress Kate del Castillo's links to 'El Chapo'

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Jan. 20, 2016 at 11:05 AM
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MEXICO CITY, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, who helped Sean Penn set up an interview with drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, has been subpoenaed in a money-laundering investigation.

Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez told El Universal that del Castillo was called in to give authorities a statement. She has not been charged with a crime.

The investigation will look into del Castillo's links with Guzman and into the finances of her Honor Del Castillo tequila brand in an effort to determine if drug money went into her business.

Gomez said there are indications Guzman provided funds to del Castillo's business, but the links have not been proven.

"Even where there are indications, we need legal certainty," Gomez said, adding that indications include messages between del Castillo, Guzman and his lawyers that said "we're in business" and "we're in this together."

Del Castillo has denied the allegations.

"Thank you for your support over the past days. Not surprisingly, many have chosen to make up items they think will make good stories that aren't truthful," del Castillo shared on Twitter. "I look forward to sharing my story with you."

On July 11, Guzman escaped from a Mexican maximum security prison for the second time using a mile-long tunnel, which could have taken a year to build. He was captured Jan. 8 in the city of Los Mochis in his home state of Sinaloa.

Fox News reports that officials found a .50-caliber rifle at a hideout belonging to Guzman in Los Mochis that was funneled through the Fast and Furious Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives program, which involved federal agents allowing criminals to buy guns with the intent of tracking them down once they made their way to Mexico.

This is the third time a weapon from the Fast and Furious program was recovered at a high-profile Mexican crime scene. Federal officials said an investigation was launched to figure out which of Guzman's weapons originated from the United States. But officials lost track of about 1,400 of the 2,000 guns involved.

Officials said Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel used .50-caliber rifles specifically to shoot down Mexican police helicopters that would conduct raids in cartel territory.

"El Chapo" -- meaning "The Short One" or "shorty" -- so dubbed because of his 5-foot-6-inch frame, was captured in Guatemala in 1993 and then extradited to Mexico to face murder and drug-trafficking charges. He escaped from prison in 2001 by hiding in a laundry cart after bribing prison guards and was recaptured in February 2014.

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