In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, there’s a piece that may surprise you: an interview of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Mexico’s top drug kingpin, who was only captured on Friday. The strange part isn’t the timing, however, though it’s curious. The odd bit of it all is that the intervew took place months ago—back in October, in fact—somewhere in the jungles of Mexico, secretly conducted by none other than actor-activist Sean Penn.
Guzmán’s elaborate July escape from the maximum security jail of Altiplano was well-publicized. Then, on October 2, a 7-hour sit-down meeting between the drug lord and the actor took place at Guzmán’s Durango state jungle hideout, set up through Mexican actress Kate del Castillo. That wasn’t the interview. That was just Penn getting official consent for one.
Later on, Penn sent questions via BBM device with Guzmán videorecording his responses. It covers everything, from his business of “[supplying] more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world” with a “fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks, and boats” to his epic escape thanks to European engineers. As Rolling Stone describes it, the video Guzmán provided is believed to be his “first-ever interview outside an interrogation.”
Mexico now says it will start up the drug baron’s extradition to the United States. Meanwhile, it is believed that Penn and del Castillo are now both under investigation.