UPDATE, 8:36PM: Sean Penn’s secret interview with Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman helped law enforcement authorities to locate El Chapo’s whereabouts. A Mexican official insisting on anonymity said Saturday it was the Penn interview as well as the drug lord’s contacts with other celebrities that initially led law enforcement to authorities to Guzman in a rural part of Durango state in October. At that time the official said they called off their raid because Guzman was was with two women and a child, according to the Associated Press. Officials in Mexico earlier in the day suggested it was the allure a potential Hollywood biopic held for El Chapo that led to his recapture.
Additionally, ABC News reported this evening that Mexican government authorities want to know why Penn and Mexican movie and TV star Kate del Castillo had not shared information about Guzman, who they knew was a most-wanted criminal. Del Castillo arranged for Penn to meet Guzman, according to the Rolling Stone article.
Penn, meanwhile, was hosting his 5th annual Help Haiti Home charity gala Saturday at the Montage Beverly Hills. Among those present for the J/P Haiti Relief Organization benefit: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Jason Siegel, Madonna, and Justin Bieber. And Anderson Cooper is hosting the event.
PREVIOUSLY, 7:08PM: In a sure to be controversial Rolling Stone interview that was posted today, Sean Penn sat down with recently recaptured Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Among the various questions the Oscar winner asked the Mexican mega-drug-dealer was about a rumored $100 million bounty he had placed on presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Trump, who has taken a hard line against illegal immigration, attracted Guzman’s attention last summer when the GOP frontrunner ridiculed opponents following the drug lord’s escape from prison. “Can you envision Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton negotiating with ‘El Chapo’ …”
The drug kingpin eventually responded to Trump in a tweet, “If you keep pissing me off I’m going to make you eat your words,” followed by a homophobic slur.
Rolling Stone moved quickly to publish the interview online Saturday following El Chapo’s recapture Friday after a gun battle near the coast in his home state Sinaloa.
Meeting Guzman as a kind of pre-clearance to granting a longer in-depth interview for Rolling Stone, Penn wrote, “I am reminded of press accounts alleging a hundred-million-dollar bounty the man across from me is said to have put on Donald Trump’s life. I mention Trump. El Chapo smiles, ironically saying, ‘Ah! Mi amigo!'”
But of Trump, not another word in the article. Lots of words about the business of drugs, though. In that same initial meeting, El Chapo boasts — unprompted, “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.”
Mexico’s government has been moving toward extraditing Guzman to the United States ever since he escaped from prison in July from Altiplano prison in Almoloya de Juárez, Mexico. Even so, the process could take months.