Sean Penn's interview with 'El Chapo' may have led police to him

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Jan. 10, 2016 at 10:04 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

MEXICO CITY, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Infamous drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman met for an interview with famous Hollywood star Sean Penn three months after his escape, which may have partly attributed to his capture.

For the seven-hour Rolling Stone interview conducted on Oct. 2, Penn and Guzman met in a jungle of Mexico's mountainous Durango state. Follow-up interviews occurred by phone and video.

In the El Chapo Speaks article, Guzman boasted about his drug business -- saying he "supplies more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world."

When asked how he became involved in the drug trade, Guzman pointed to poignant humble beginnings.

"Well, from the time I was 15 and after, where I come from... there are no job opportunities," Guzman told Penn. "The only way to have money to buy food, to survive, is to grow poppy, marijuana, and at that age, I began to grow it, to cultivate it and to sell it."

Penn later asks Guzman if it is true that drugs destroy humanity and bring harm.

"Well, it's a reality that drugs destroy. Unfortunately, as I said, 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," Guzman replied.

Penn immediately asks Guzman if he believes it true that he is responsible for the high level of drug addiction worldwide.

"No, that is false, because the day I don't exist, it's not going to decrease in any way at all. Drug trafficking? That's false," Guzman said.

"Do you consider yourself a violent person?" Penn asks.

"No, sir," Guzman replies.

"Are you prone to violence, or do you use it as a last resort?" Penn asks.

"Look, all I do is defend myself, nothing more. But do I start trouble? Never," Guzman replies.

Although Penn, with the help of Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, landed one of the most high-profile interviews in recent history, what Guzman did not know was that his attempts to reach out to the world would partly lead to his capture.

Attorney General Arely Gomez on Friday said that an important aspect of his recapture "was discovering Guzman's intention to have a biographic film made," as he "contacted actresses and producers, which was part of one line of investigation."

No other details have been revealed on the process that led authorities to Guzman and Penn's interview is not directly named as the origin of the "one line of investigation" that led to Guzman's capture.

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.

"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 re-captured in February 2014.

Guzman was captured on Friday in the city of Los Mochis in his home state of Sinaloa. Five suspected Sinoloa Cartel members were killed and one Mexican marine was wounded during the capture operation.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories