Sean Penn Under Investigation for Secretly Interviewing Mexican Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’

sean penn El Chapo
Courtesy of Sean Penn

In a surprising development, Rolling Stone has published the first-ever interview with fugitive Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzman, known as “El Chapo,” conducted by none other than Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn.

Several news outlets reported that Penn is now under investigation for the interview, according to a Mexican official. They are particularly interested in the location of the meeting. Since Penn had been in contact with Guzman for several months, authorities are presumably interested to find out why the actor did not earlier share any information on the wanted man.

According to the Associated Press, Penn’s interview helped lead authorities to Guzman, who was captured and returned to prison Friday.

The interview published Saturday evening was conducted in October while the drug lord was on the run from Mexican and U.S. authorities. Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, star of Telemundo’s hit 2011 telenovela “La Reina del Sur,” in which she played a ruthless drug cartel leader, accompanied Penn to a secret location deep in the Mexican jungle. It was arranged through a producer he calls Espinoza in the article. Castillo is also now under investigation in the stranger-than-fiction story that seems tailor-made for a telenovela of its own.

The CAA-repped del Castillo recently logged guest shots on CW’s “Jane the Virgin” as part of her effort to cross over into English-language TV. Her next big TV project is the Spanish-language Netflix series “Ingobernable,” where she plays the strong-willed wife of the president of Mexico. She previously had a recurring role in Showtime’s “Weeds” in 2009. She also co-starred in the 2007 Sundance film festival favorite “Under the Same Moon.”

To herald the El Chapo interview coup, Rolling Stone published a two-minute video of his sit-down with Penn (see below).

“I don’t want to be portrayed as a nun,” El Chapo tells Penn as the two dined over tacos and tequila.

After traveling to the unknown location in SUVs, Penn said they were surrounded by “30 to 35” armed guards, with an additional hundred soldiers in a nearby field.

None of El Chapo’s soldiers or associates spoke in English, so the jungle meeting was translated by Castillo, whom the drug lord had been in contact with after she tweeted a plea to him to use his power to help people. But the first contact was more of a meet and greet; the actor then spent several weeks trying to contact El Chapo via Castillo, and finally received a video answering the questions he had submitted.

In a radical departure from journalistic practice, the entire Rolling Stone story was submitted to El Chapo for approval, and Penn says the drug lord did not ask for any changes.

Though El Chapo formerly denied being a drug dealer, he told Penn that he wanted a feature film to tell his story, boasting, “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.”

Chapo went on to admit that he once met drug kingpin Pablo Escobar: “Yes, I met him once at his house. Big house.”

When asked about GOP candidate Donald Trump, he gave a sarcastic, “Mi amigo!”

Using a gonzo-style approach, Penn details his secret trip to the Mexican jungle that originated with a secret meeting in New York and, ends, oddly, with the actor passing gas in front of El Chapo.

The Rolling Stone article also provides details of the drug lord’s escape from prison in July 2015.

Penn explained his interest in the outlaw, saying in the article, “I take no pride in keeping secrets that may be perceived as protecting criminals, nor do I have any gloating arrogance at posing for selfies with unknowing security men. But I’m in my rhythm. Everything I say to everyone must be true. “

“I took some comfort in a unique aspect of El Chapo’s reputation among the heads of drug cartels in Mexico: that, unlike many of his counterparts who engage in gratuitous kidnapping and murder, El Chapo is a businessman first, and only resorts to violence when he deems it advantageous to himself or his business interests,” he continues.

“As an American citizen, I’m drawn to explore what may be inconsistent with the portrayals our government and media brand upon their declared enemies. Not since Osama bin Laden has the pursuit of a fugitive so occupied the public imagination. But unlike bin Laden, who had posed the ludicrous premise that a country’s entire population is defined by – and therefore complicit in – its leadership’s policies, with the world’s most wanted drug lord, are we, the American public, not indeed complicit in what we demonize? We are the consumers, and as such, we are complicit in every murder, and in every corruption of an institution’s ability to protect the quality of life for citizens of Mexico and the United States that comes as a result of our insatiable appetite for illicit narcotics.”

Watch an excerpt from the video below:

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  1. louis says:

    Remember Gary Webb, CIA has Control of the cartels since Reagan.

    • shinyhula says:

      True. In the “Crack in the System” doc Freeway Rick Ross, Danilo Blandon and even the cops support the story Gary Webb broke, he predated the bloggers who today are breaking stories.

  2. mahi says:

    Penn the bozo who does bozo moves and thinks he is really important. Hope his new buddy doesn’t think Penn set him up because he may get some real life tough guys calling soon

  3. Gene says:

    Sean Penn is as big a criminal as El Chapo is. El Chapo is just more honest about it! Penn is a narcissistic scumbag with an overinflated sense of self worth. An affliction which is very common in Hollywood. Then he has the audacity to blame America’s drug problems on AMERICANS and not the source where the drugs are coming from. Penn needs to be ignored. Being ignored is the one thing that narcissists hate. After this post there will be no more Sean Penn in my world!

  4. C.J. Madeleine says:

    Sean Penn, you stand there shaking the hand of one of the worst drug dealers and suppliers of heroin that is killing our youth here in America and you think this is acceptable. You make me sick! You Hollywood hypocrite…..I am ashamed of your behavior …you expect people to look up to you? Think Again!

  5. I was told by FBI sources that Mr. Penn agreed to be tracked for a book he is considering writing that will portray him as an American hero. Si El Chapo es muy estupido.

  6. Cesar Romero says:

    Penn always did like criminal leaders, such as Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Barack Obama, etc.

  7. Karl Le says:

    Mr. Penn seems to identify with truly horrible people. His views are very much in line with the totalitarian communist dictators of the “Cold War” Era. If only there was a modern day figure like Cambodia’s “Killing Field” with it’s leader, Pol Pot, or a social “purger” of Russia, slaughtering all non-communist, non-supporters, and combative like the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin for Mr. Penn to also admire. Who cares how many people you kill when you cause is leftist or otherwise in line with his predisposed beliefs.

  8. John says:

    Penn should be charged in the US with aiding and abetting a Felon, by not disclosing immediately that he met with Chapo and as much information as he could as to how and where they met.

    • Jay Sinclair says:

      Penn hasn’t committed any crime in the US, interviewing someone is far from “aiding and abetting” since Penn only met him on Guzman’s terms, provided no sanctuary, or assistance. The only crime he could be charged with would be obstruction. . And “El Chapo” is not a felon in the US either, until he is convicted. Leave the legal stuff to those who are competent, and educated.

    • John, are you saying there is evidence of aiding and abetting or are you suggesting overturning the 1st amendment to the United State constitution and clause 3 of Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution?

  9. Sal U. Lloyd says:

    “I’m not your problem.” — Chris Walken as drug lord “Frank White” in Abel Ferrara’s KING OF NEW YORK (1990)

  10. Alberto Breccia says:

    To give Guzman any notoriety is pure foolishness. To in any manner allow such a cruel, criminal and entirely unethical Guzman any spotlight indicates a vast lack of wisdom. lack of sensibility and sheer loss of rationality. I would support criminal prosecution of the players in this profoundly injudicious pursuit.

  11. Scott Older says:

    How do you top marrying Madonna ? Why, you bag an interview with a psychopathic criminal who justifies all that he does by blaming the consumers who purchase his product. Enuff’ said.
    I cannot decide if Mr. Penn is a genius, or an idiot. I’d have to say both.

  12. patrik says:

    done interview, not is ilegal work.

  13. Doug says:

    Actors are ego maniacs by nature. I get it. But when they start believing that their fame and money entitles them to advocate for their political views, I get a little nauseous. Penn, Sarandon, and the old hag, Fonda need to shut up. Remember, before they got rich, they were waiters or valets or pizza drivers (not that there’s anything wrong with those occupations), and aren’t any more qualified to spout their politics than you and me. When they start to associate with known felons and go on diatribes about “evil America” they need to go to jail.

    • Sal U. Lloyd says:

      Right, Dougie-boy, let’s just forget Sly Stallone and his anti-Commie, racist propaganda known as RAMBO, Clint Eastwood with AMERICAN SNIPER and the worst of the bunch, the Dukester with THE GREEN BERETS!

  14. Are any of you old enough to remember (or have seen) 60 minutes (Osama Bin Laden) interview? Or numerous other figures, some shot in low light, some wearing disguises etc. being interviewed on your telly?

  15. Michaelmusso says:

    Sean Penn thinks America is the evil empire, and that Wacky Baracky is our greatest president. He is delusional because of snorting who knows what up his oversized honker for 35 years. Oh yeah, he’s ugly as a mud fence daubed with lizards as well.

  16. Amy says:

    Also, I highly doubt Penn lead elchapo to his capture. This meeting took place in October, it’s January. If I remember correctly, the shoot out incident lead to the Marines finding elchapo was Boots the monkey.

  17. LooLoo says:

    Sean Penn is the man, awesome for being brave enough to even go get the interview. People on here whine about the drugs killing your kids, LMAO, if you watch your damn kids and raise them right they wont even do drugs. Stop trying ot pass the buck and do your own job raising your kids.

  18. Bill B. says:

    I am certainly no lawyer and I read what Penn did is not illegal, but I don’t get it. Isn’t knowing the location of an escaped drug lord/murderer for quite some time and not telling the authorities aiding a criminal? Why is that not illegal? Let’s say someone famous is assassinated and I found out the assassin’s whereabouts and met up with him or her to get the story and then went on my way without telling anyone, wouldn’t I be arrested?

    • I suggest all US Citizens read the US Constitution every July.

      “Why is that not illegal?” It is not illegal because of the United States Constitution’s 1st Amendment, so long as he was not aiding and abetting in any way, that is providing support or advice to El Chapo, and was meeting with him to publish a story it is protected.

      Sadly, I’m not surprised by how many ‘patriotic conservative’ seem ready to repeal the First Amendment to the US Constitution over this.

    • Amy says:

      If you read the article, you can clearly see Sean Penn had no idea where he was at it and it’s obvious ElChapo didn’t stay put for long where he was at. ever.

  19. ROBERT R. BUTLER says:

    Hats off to Sean Penn he accomplished what a lot of journalist’s wish they could, and positioned himself in a spot an amateur photographer can only dream of !. and for the very reason of what he was able to accomplish, I would assume using his OWN money why all the negativity towards him?. Dont you think his efforts might have possibly helped expose the guy? I mean come on, as far as any of us know the feds didnt know where he was the Mexican Government could’nt find him . And besides his other humanitarian work’s Lets remember who was one of the first to voluntarily appear on the scene when the KATRINA disaster occurred !. People are quick to find fault with people in the position that celebrities are in and tend to overlook the good that a lot of them do.

  20. jack butler says:

    what in the world is going on with penn,obviously he very generous with the causes he promotes,but this is absolutly crazy,what next will he be photographed on an iraqi tank waving an isis flag.i guess he willl make a movie and will star as el chapo.what an idiot!!!!!!

  21. Pat says:

    Celebrities can find dangerous drug lords for the Mexican gov’t! Sounds about right. But before Penn is slimed too much, ask yourselves why it’s perfectly OK for the CIA to deal the drugs they obtain from men like el Chapo to fund their favorite operations. Why is that OK? Because you can easily point your finger at Penn, but where do you start with the CIA. You can’t! So… back to sliming Penn.

  22. Trudy says:

    Sean Penn is an “Aider & Abettor” of Terrorist Dictators & Criminals (SADDAM HUSSEIN, HUGO CHAVEZ & EL CHOPO) that have KILLED Hundreds of Thousands of innocent human beings.

    He should be Prison for Treason and being a Traitor to all Americans and others around the world.

  23. James Richardson says:

    Penn is a piece of crap, you try to do go and you associate yourself with someone this is killing our children with his drug.

  24. Adam Driver is hosting SNL next week. I guess he’s working on his Sean Penn impression. I’m thinking Bobby Moynihan for El Chapo.

  25. Steve says:

    El Chapo has beheaded many people. Penn admires that. Penn is a sick puppy.

  26. terrorisevil says:

    Sean Penn, a big consumer of drugs, interviews El Chapo, the biggest producer of drugs…it is good that Penn’s interview led to Chapo’s capture. It is important that we not glamorize consumers or producers – they are both part of a huge problem.

  27. shipdog7 says:

    Headlines stating Penn helped bring El Chapo back in custody has to be not only the end of his career but possibly the end of his life. No one can be that arrogant or ignorant to think there was no coincidence between being interviewed and getting captured. I hope Sean’s ego is satisfied with his latest accomplishment. Looking forward to the movie with Penn playing El Chapo. Just don’t see that happening.

  28. Both of them need to be charged with aiding and abetting a known fugitive. Let’s just hope this is the final nail in that scumbag’s career

  29. Mjkbk says:

    So, why did Sean Penn REALLY interview this guy? Just to repeat the whole “We Americans are the real villains here” premise we’ve heard from Penn many times before? Doubtful.

    Since El Chapo seems to be exceedingly interested in having a movie made about himself, and since this whole interview thing was arranged by an ACTRESS and conducted by an ACTOR… almost comes off as some kind of elaborate public “audition” for potential interest in Hollywood.

    Betcha by golly it WAS, too.

  30. As BOBO says:

    Amazing InCredible obviously it was not so hard to find el Chapo an actress was in touch with him all the time How ridiculous the Mexican authorities are they are jumping up and down for what the whole charade such a giant LIE
    Everybody could find EL CHAPO Previously the ABC (London ) Went all the way to el chapo’ family home and interwied everybody at the end of the day

  31. Gail Sanders says:

    Lol….Sean Penn and Rolling Stone could find him but the U.S. authorities could not? Of course, they will be charging Penn soon…out of embarrassment.

  32. Whisper Willow says:

    Sean Penn loved the murdering Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Now he has a new pal, the murdering merchant of death, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. This guy may have helped the Haitian government post-earthquake, but his judgment has to be questioned. Why does this spoiled child of Hollywood like to break bread with thugs who have blood all over their hands?

  33. The only positive here is Rolling Stone has moved away from fake stories about campus rapes and vilifying innocent people into something of great interest for wide consumption. Like high quality cocaine at low prices once prevalent in the 80’s. Back when Reagan was President. Now we have low quality drugs and ghetto bikie loser rubbish creations like ice, and Obama as President. So in good times, in bad times…(sing with vigor!) always correlate the leader of the pack with how you spend your Saturday nights. I think a Trump/El Chapo Pres/Veep ticket is the ultimate in bipartisanship megaleadership.

  34. Even more reason to legalize marijuana, and use locally grown product.

  35. Me says:

    “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.”

    Eat your heart out.

  36. Michelle says:

    Dear Sean Penn,
    Please help Steven Avery and his nephew.

    • Michael Anthony says:

      Why? You ASSUME they’re not guilty, as you’ve only seen one side. Unless you’ve examined all evidence firsthand, you cannot possibly pass judgement. The power of media spin.

  37. Sean Penn has reached a new, perhaps drug-designed, low.
    How convenient for Penn to completely discount the number of associates of this so-called “businessman” has caused to be mirdered, never mind the number of lives broken through drug addiction.

    Sean Penn on one level, reminds me of Bill Cosby. He’s practicing the same kind of denial Bill Cosby blathered on about.

    Both are super creepy in wholly different ways. Ugh.

    • George says:

      The Drug War is a Farce. The government has allwed it to become vital to private prisons and law enforcement. Instead of legalizing or decriminalizing drugs and treating it as a health issue. The War has made cartel’s profits soar.

    • Michael Anthony says:

      Barbara Walters interviewed Gaddafi and more despots. Writers have always interviewed these kinds of people. No memory you, and others, have.

  38. kayemusings says:

    I just remebered wehy I can’t stand Sean Penn. what a bunch of lying bull shit.

    • Gary Fischer says:

      Keep that memory safe, you are 100% right. Sean Penn is a mindless loser who barely got out of high school and studied auto mechanics in college for like 1

      year. He’s as dumb as a rock and could not count to 21 unless he was stark naked. Yet for some reason he offers his opinion on serious topics like Climate Change and morons like Obama and his liberal democrats encourage and listen to him. He once attacked and hog-tied his ex wife Madonna but the police let him go when she dropped the charges. I’d rather follow the opinions of Larry The Cable Guy, At least he knows he’s dumb and makes no attempt to hide it.

      • JK says:

        And then you’re argument is completly invalidated because Madonna has said, that Sean Penn never hurt her, even 20 years after her divocer and she’s amicable with him. So, stop with your “loser” comments, because he at least helps people as in Katrina or Haiti, you can’t say the same thing, so there you go, Gary Fischer the real dumb, loser, LOL

  39. Ted Faraone says:

    Now Sean Penn is a journalist?

  40. Claude Meru says:

    Sean Penn is a real piece of work

    • JK says:

      Indeed, great actor, humanitarian (helping in Katrina or Haiti disasters) and then even interviewing El Chapo, great piece of work, good for him….

      • Trudy says:

        JK…You must seriously be missing brain cells if you think hanging out with Terrorists Dictators and Criminals that have killed HUNDREDS of Thousands of innocent human beings, is okay.

      • Randy says:

        Sean Penn is a stupid man whose arrogance is embarrassing.

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