Drug Lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman Will Be Extradited; Sean Penn Interviewed Him
The world's most wanted drug lord will be extradited to the U.S., Mexican officials said Saturday, and he gave an interview while on the run to actor-director Sean Penn.
Since Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman "has been recaptured, the beginning of the extradition proceedings should begin," said the Mexican attorney general in a statement.
In an interview conducted for Rolling Stone magazine in October, Guzman spent hours talking with Penn and acknowledged he "supplies more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marjuana than anybody else in the world."
It was a departure from earlier interviews given behind bars when Guzman disavowed his drug business and claimed he was just a poor farmer.
Penn's gonzo-style article described plane rides to hidden locations with radar-scrambling devices and an hours-long ride to a house in the jungle where a local family served him and Guzman a dinner of enchiladas and tacos.
The actor also recounted drinking tequila, made mention of his penis and said the meeting took place after he encountered Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, who was sympathetic to Guzman and was trying to put together a movie about the kingpin's life.
Guzman was unapologetic about his criminal life and boasted he has "a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats." He entered the drug trade as a teenager, he said, because there were no jobs near his childhood home. "Well, it's a reality that drugs destroy," he replied when asked about narcotics. "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."
The surreal saga of Guzman, who has twice escaped maximum-security prisons in Mexico, took even more bizarre turns beginning Friday, when he was captured by Mexican marines after leading them on a chase through the sewer systems of the coastal city of Los Mochis, in his native state of Sinaloa.
Guzman and his henchmen then stole cars and engaged in a fierce gun battle with military forces before being captured. Five of Guzman's men were killed.
Mexican authorities said Guzman's desire to meet with actors and producers including Penn helped the military to captured the fugitive. Guzman, whose worth is estimated at $1 billion, wanted a biopic to be made of his life, officials said.
The despotic leader of the Sinaloa Cartel had recently began calling producers and actors, trying to negotiate a deal to make a biopic of his notorious life, authorities said. Those inquiries provided new clues in the massive manhunt for the kingpin called “Shorty” because of his five-foot, six-inch height.
Guzman is seen here shortly after his arrest:
His jaw-dropping tunnel escape is already the subject of “Chapo: The Escape of the Century,” set to open Jan. 15 in his native country.
Authorities received a tip several days ago that Guzman was in Los Mochis. In a predawn raid, Mexican marines stormed a house in a well-to-do neighborhood where the crime syndicate leader had been spotted entering on Friday.
Guzman, clad in a filthy undershirt with scrapes covering his arms, was given a new shirt and allowed to clean up a little before authorities paraded him before media cameras late Friday, according to several reports.
See an excerpt of video interview with "El Chapo" for Rolling Stone:
He was flown to Altipano and was locked up in the same prison he escaped from during the summer.
Mexican and U.S. officials say they are investigating Penn's meeting with Guzman. The magazine and the actor issued no comment Sunday.
Before he was incarcerated in February 2014, Guzman had been on the run for more than 13 years after escaping another maximum-security facility by bribing guards and officials who allowed Guzman to be smuggled out the front door in a laundry basket.
U.S. officials have long wanted Guzman to be extradited to America, where he has been indicted by several federal grand juries for drug smuggling and murder.
The drug lord’s escape six months ago was highly embarrassing for the government, which has been frequently accused of widespread corruption in local, state and federal police agencies, as well as in political offices.
See the arsenal, including a rocket launcher, that was found after Guzman fled this house in Mexico Friday: