Sean Penn breaks silence on 'El Chapo' meeting, denies involvement in recapture

By Wade Sheridan  |  Jan. 15, 2016 at 9:23 AM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Sean Penn has spoken out about his meeting with notorious drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and allegations made by Mexican authorities that his visit led to his recapture.

Guzman, who was arrested on Jan. 8 following his escape from a Mexican prison, met with Penn and Mexican actress Kate del Castillo in October for an article the actor was writing for Rolling Stone magazine.

In an interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Charlie Rose set to air Sunday, Penn held nothing back denying any involvement in Guzman's recapture and how he is being unfairly targeted by the Mexican government.

"There is this myth about the visit that we made, my colleagues and I with El Chapo, that it was -- as the Attorney General of Mexico is quoted -- 'essential' to his capture," Penn said. "We had met with him many weeks earlier...on October 2nd, in a place nowhere near where he was captured."

"Here's the things that we know," he continued. "We know that the Mexican government ... they were clearly very humiliated by the notion that someone found him before they did," Penn said. "Well, nobody found him before they did. We didn't -- we're not smarter than the DEA or the Mexican intelligence. We had a contact upon which we were able to facilitate an invitation."

Penn believes Mexican officials are pinning the arrest on him in order to put him in the crosshairs of Guzman's drug cartel. "Are you fearful for your life?" Rose asked. "No," Penn replied.

The Academy Award winning actor then lamented about his article and how its original purpose has been overlooked due the conversation that has sprung up about how the piece lead to Guzman's capture.

"This is somebody who -- upon whose interview could I begin a conversation about the policy of the war on drugs. That was my simple idea," Penn said of his thought process behind wanting to conduct the interview. "I have a regret that the entire discussion about this article ignores its purpose, which was to try to contribute to this discussion about the policy in the War on Drugs," he continued.

"Let's go to the big picture of what we all want. We all want this drug problem to stop. We all want them -- the killings in Chicago to stop," Penn added. "We are the consumer. Whether you agree with Sean Penn or not, there is a complicity there. And if you are in the moral right, or on the far left, just as many of your children are doing these drugs ... And how much time have they spent in the last week since this article come [sic] out, talking about that? One percent? I think that'd be generous."

"You're saying there's not much dialogue about--," Rose responded before being interrupted by the 55-year-old. "My article failed," Penn said.

As Penn as now discussed his meeting with Guzman, actress Castillo has promised to speak on the matter soon writing on Twitter Wednesday, "Not surprisingly, many have chosen to make up items they think will make good stories and that aren't truthful. I look forward to sharing my story with you."

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