Actor Sean Penn interviewed drug lord 'El Chapo' before recapture
Rolling Stone magazine has published an interview that drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman apparently gave to US actor Sean Penn in a hideout in Mexico months before his recapture.
In the article and interview, Penn describes the complicated measures he took to meet the legendary drug lord. The men discuss topics ranging from drug trafficking to the Middle East.
Asked about who is to blame for drug trafficking, Guzman is quoted as saying: "If there was no consumption, there would be no sales. It is true that consumption, day after day, becomes bigger and bigger. So it sells and sells."
Rolling Stone magazine reports that the meeting between El Chapo and Sean Penn was brokered by Mexican actress Kate del Castillo.
The magazine's website has a two-minute video it says is the first ever exclusive interview with El Chapo. It is in Spanish and in it El Chapo sits in front of a chain link face and speaks to a camera. He is wearing a print blue shirt and dark baseball cap, but his face is clearly visible. Accompanying the article is a picture of Penn shaking hands with Guzman.
In the interview, when asked about whether he is responsible for the high level of drug addiction in the world Guzman responds: "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."
A Mexican law enforcement official says the secret interview with actor Sean Penn helped authorities locate his whereabouts.
Mexico Attorney General Arely Gomez said on Friday (local time) that El Chapo's contact with actors and producers for a biopic helped gave law enforcement a new lead on tracking and capturing the world's most notorious drug kingpin.
The official, who spoke Saturday on condition of anonymity, said it was the Penn interview that led authorities to Guzman in a rural part of Durango state in October. They aborted their raid at the time because he was with two women and a child.
A federal law officer has announced Mexico is willing to extradite drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the United States, a sharp reversal from the official position after his last capture in 2014.
"Mexico is ready. There are plans to cooperate with the US," said the Mexican official, who spoke on condition anonymity because he wasn't authorised to comment.
But he cautioned that there could be a lengthy wait before US prosecutors can get their hands on Guzman, the most-wanted trafficker who was recaptured Friday after six months on the run: ``You have to go through the judicial process, and the defense has its elements too."
Top officials in the party of President Enrique Pena Nieto also floated the idea of extradition, which they had flatly ruled out before Guzman's embarrassing escape from Mexico's top maximum security prison on 11 July - his second from a Mexican prison.
"He has a lot of outstanding debts to pay in Mexico, but if it's necessary, he can pay them in other places," said Manlio Fabio Beltrones, president of Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party.
But even if Mexican officials agree, Guzman's attorney Juan Pablo Badillo told the Milenio newspaper that the defence has already filed six motions to challenge extradition requests.
"They can challenge the judge, challenge the probable cause, challenge the procedure," said Juan Masini, former US Department of Justice attache at the US Embassy in Mexico. "That's why it can take a long time. They won't challenge everything at once ... they can drip, drip, milk it that way."
Guzman was apprehended after a shootout between gunmen and Mexican marines at a home in Los Mochis, a seaside city in Guzman's home state of Sinaloa. Five suspects were killed and six others arrested. One marine was injured.
Following his capture, the head of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel was brought to Mexico City's airport, frog-marched to a helicopter before news media, and flown back to the same prison he'd fled.