Rolling Stone Docu Series ‘USA V Chapo’ Premieres On Facebook Watch In March

By Lisa de Moraes, Erik Pedersen

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Rolling Stone will premiere a documentary series on the infamous rise and takedown of the world’s most elusive drug kingpin, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera.

Five-episode USA v. Chapo: The Drug War Goes on Trial, directed by Bernardo Ruiz, from Rolling Stone and Jigsaw Productions, also gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at how Rolling Stone and Sean Penn came together to publish that needle-moving El Chapo interview.

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USA v. Chapo will premiere on March 11 exclusively on Facebook Watch. New episodes will be available every Monday on the show page.

The docu follows El Chapo’s horrific crimes and cinematic prison breaks from the early ‘90s to the recent conviction in the U.S. Featured are interviews with the DEA  agents who tracked him down, El Chapo’s defense attorneys in Mexico and the U.S., former Mexico President Felipe Calderón, Rolling Stone Editor Jason Fine and veteran investigative journalists from both sides of the border who have reported extensively on the drug war, among others.

Here’s how the docu will play out:

Chapter 1: Birth of the Myth
Chapter 2: Expansion of the Empire
Chapter 3: The Great Escape
Chapter 4: The Interview
Chapter 5: The Trial

Fine said Rolling Stone‘s long-running relationship with the El Chapo saga started with a phone call from the magazine’s founder Jann Wenner asking him, “If we could get to El Chapo, should we do it?”

Fine’s response? “Well, how are we getting to El Chapo?”

Dozens of outlets covered the day-to-day of the trial, but docuseries director Bernardo Ruiz says his project focuses as much on the political and economic context that gave birth to El Chapo, how he became such a notorious figure and whether the focus on one person has served to distract from the more serious problems of the drug war.

It’s been little more than two weeks since the feared Mexican drug lord was found guilty of all 10 charges in his New York trial. The convictions followed a 42-day trial and include leading a criminal enterprise; drug trafficking of heroin, cocaine and other drugs; the use of firearms; and money laundering. Convicted by a jury of eight women and four men, he faces life in a U.S. maximum-security federal prison and the forfeiture of some $14 billion.

Guzmán — whose nickname translates to “Shorty” — is suspected of trafficking more than 440,000 pounds of drugs into the U.S. via tunnels, submarines, planes, trucks and boats. He had been caught and jailed multiple times in the past, only to make brazen escapes, helping to solidify his near-mythical status in the criminal underworld. Perhaps most famously, he escaped a Mexican prison in 2015 through an elaborate tunnel that included an adapted motorcycle on rails.

He was recaptured several months later — his third arrest in 23 years — in the Sinaloa coastal city of Los Mochis and extradited to the U.S. about a year later.

USA v. Chapo: The Drug War Goes on Trial is a Rolling Stone and Jigsaw production, directed by Bernardo Ruiz and produced by Kara Elverson, from executive producers Gus Wenner, Jason Fine, Stacey Offman, and Richard Perello. The title list of the five-episode docuseries includes:

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