Sean Penn Denies Helping Authorities Recapture ‘El Chapo’
Sean Penn has denied his interview with fugitive drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman helped Mexican authorities recapture the wanted crook.
The Milk star met with the crime boss at his hideout in the Mexican jungle in October, three months after Guzman had escaped from prison.
The interview, which was organized by actress Kate Del Castillo, was published for Rolling Stone last week, a day after the fugitive was taken back into custody.
Mexican authorities claim Penn’s secret meeting helped them track down the criminal and they want to speak to the actor and De Castillo over their contact with Guzman.
Penn sat down with U.S. newsman Charlie Rose in Santa Monica, California on Thursday night to discuss the controversy and denied his involvement in Guzman’s recapture.
“There is this myth about the visit that we made, my colleagues and I, with El Chapo, that it was, as the Attorney General of Mexico is quoted, ‘essential’ to his capture,” he says in a clip from his 60 Minutes interview. “We had met with him many weeks earlier… on October 2nd, in a place nowhere near where he was captured.”
“Here’s the things that we know: We know that the Mexican government – they were clearly very humiliated by the notion that someone found him before they did,” Penn said. “Well, nobody found him before they did. We didn’t. We’re not smarter than the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) or the Mexican intelligence. We had a contact upon which we were able to facilitate an invitation.”
The actor is convinced the Mexican government is laying the blame on him and putting him at risk with Guzman’s cartel.
Penn now regrets that the controversy surrounding the interview and the subsequent arrest have taken the attention away from the point he was trying to make that drug policy needs to be reformed.
“I have a regret that the entire discussion about this article ignores its purpose, which was to try to contribute to this discussion about the policy in the war on drugs,” he added.
“We all want this drug problem to stop… We are the consumer. Whether you agree with Sean Penn or not, there is a complicity there. And if you are in the moral right, or on the far left, just as many of your children are doing these drugs… And how much time have they spent in the last week since this article come [sic] out, talking about that? One percent? I think that’d be generous… My article has failed.”
The preview of Penn’s chat aired on CBS This Morning on Friday. The full interview airs on 60 Minutes on Sunday.