After it became known that actor Sean penn had held an interview with notorious drug lord Joaquin Guzman in October, he is wanted for questioning by the Mexican authorities. Guzmán was captured by by the Mexican Navy’s Special Forces with support from the Mexican Army and the Federal Police on January 8th.
Guzmán is the head of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel and responsible for exporting nearly 500 tons of cocaine and large amounts of heroin to the U.S. in the years during his reign, that eclipsed, according to some at the DEA, even that of Pablo Escobar. He is also responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in the Mexican drug war.
From 2009 to 2011 Guzmán has been listed continuously as one of the most powerful people in the world by Forbes magazine. He started running drugs at the age of 15, when, he says, he couldn’t find any other job. From there he developed into a cruel drug lord.
In July 2015 he managed to pull off one of the most elaborate prison escapes in history, when his people dug a 1500 meter long tunnel, to free their boss from a Mexican prison.
Sean Penn met Guzmán in October of the same year for an exclusive interview for Rolling Stone magazine. The contact was brokered by Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, whom the drug lord had contacted. He had hoped, that she could help him to get bio pic about his life into production. Shortly after the visit there was a raid on Guzmán’s hideout, but he managed to escape after a heavy firefight.
Media now is speculating about what exactly were Mr Penn’s intentions when he met Guzmán last year. Mexican authorities have declined to comment on the matter. Penn has claimed that the authorities knew about the meeting.
Basically, there are three possibilities:
1. Penn was just in it for the fame and the thrill. This would mean he had no intention of helping to capture Guzmán and actively tried to prevent this from happening.
2. He actively helped the investigation but is keeping his involvement quiet to protect himself from the vengeance the cartel.
3. He suspected that the NSA and DEA were listening in on his conversations with Guzmán and secretly hoped that his contact could lead to Guzmán’s capture.
When Dennis Rodman visited Kim Jong-un in North Korea in 2014, someone put the question to foreign policy expert Ian Bremmer, whether he thought that Rodman was talking to the CIA about his trip. In Bremmer’s view the likelihood of this was about 80%. But “it’s a 100% that Rodman is talking to someone who is CIA, but he is not aware of that”. The same could well be true for Sean Penn, now with the DEA.