Global Gathering — Recently recaptured drug trafficker Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman gave an interview to actor and director Sean Penn, according to an article written by Penn and published in Rolling Stone magazine on Saturday night.
Penn said that he traveled 14 hours from Los Angeles to a remote jungle destination to meet Guzman for a face to face interview. The meeting was set up by television star Kate del Castillo and Guzman’s associates.
Penn wrote in his article that Guzman talked about how he got into the drug business as a 15-year old growing up in a poor, rural region of Mexico without any job opportunities. "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. That is what I can tell you,” Guzman told Penn.
Guzman also spoke about where his path as a drug lord had taken him, saying “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.”
Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez Gonzalez said during a press conference that an "important element in determining Chapo's whereabouts was finding out that he wanted to film an autobiographical film."
It is unclear in news reports if it was Penn’s contact and interview with Guzman that led officials to his whereabouts. News sources say that officials have reported that several production companies contacted the Justice Department because they and Guzman were interested in producing a film about Guzman’s life.
According to Penn, Guzman had agreed to meet again but instead, due to concerns with security, sent a video response to Penn’s questions to del Castillo. In response to the question do drugs destroy humanity, Guzman said in the video that "it's a reality that drugs destroy.” Penn wrote that the cartel leader also said that if there were no desire for drugs there would be no sales.
Kate del Castillo, an outspoken Mexican and American actress. She led Sean Penn to El Chapo.
Penn attended a benefit for Haiti on the same night that the Rolling Stone article was published. He looked relaxed in photos of the event although he and del Castillo are under investigation in Mexico.
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough told CNN: "One thing I will tell you is that this braggadocious action about how much heroin he sends around the world, including the United States, is maddening.
The republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio told ABC: "If one of these American actors who have benefited from the greatness of this country, who have made money from our free enterprise system, want to go fawn all over a criminal and a drug trafficker in their interviews, they have a constitutional right to do it. I find it grotesque."
Academy Award winning actor Sean Penn conducted an interview with wanted fugitive El Chapo months before his capture.
(credit: Rolling Stone/courtesy Sean Penn)
Mexico's attorney general said the government plans to extradite Guzman to the United States. The New York Times reported that the process could take a long time as the attorneys for the largest drug trafficker in the world will fight the extradition in every way possible. The U.S. had filed requests for extradition in June 2015 for a 21-count indictment in New York City. Guzman would serve his time in a maximum security prison in either Brooklyn or New York.
L.J. Young/ Global Gathering