Mr. Penn’s article is a cloak-and-dagger tale of a dive into the secretive world of the Mexican drug trade, and the connection the actor describes between himself and Mr. Guzmán is circuitous and shadowy.
The linchpin is a Mexican actress named Kate del Castillo, who once played the mastermind of a drug cartel in a soap opera and posted a Twitter message sympathetic to Mr. Guzmán in 2012. That tweet led to a conversation between herself and Mr. Guzmán’s lawyers and, two years later, to correspondence with the man himself. The drug lord, imprisoned at the time, wanted her to help make a movie about his life. Mr. Guzmán escaped from prison in July. Mr. Penn met Ms. del Castillo in Los Angeles some time after that through mutual friends who had gotten involved in the film project. They had come to believe that the movie would be impossible to make and, at Mr. Penn’s suggestion, opted to pursue a magazine story instead.
The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said the process could take months as it goes through the judicial system. On Saturday, the attorney general of Mexico, Arely Gómez González, said for the first time that the government took preliminary steps to proceed with Mr. Guzmán’s extradition as far back as July, shortly after his escape from prison. Mr. Guzmán’s lawyers are expected to fight extradition to the United States, where he faces at least seven indictments in federal courts on charges of drug trafficking and murder.
If El Chapo remains in a Mexican prison, many will continue to believe he is running everything from his cell. But the cartel was always so much bigger than the one man. He was just the figurehead. There are a whole list of others already lined up to pick up the reins, to seize their slice of the lucrative business. Some names we already know, others will be seeing their chance. The battle to succeed will no doubt produce the next set of bodies on the streets. Again, this is all the show of the war on drugs. The only true barometer of the impact of El Chapo’s imprisonment is the price of drugs on the streets. There may be a spike for a day or two but that has little to do with supply, which will no doubt continue as normal. Just as the death of Escobar did little more than change the supply routes, so it will be with the renewed capture of El Chapo Guzmán.
While Sean Penn was drinking tequila with El Chapo, this is what happens to real journalists reporting on cartels. https://t.co/qXFHfpiZTl— Stephen Losey (@StephenLosey) January 10, 2016
While there was criticism of Penn in the United States for interviewing a wanted fugitive, the prospect of official action appeared to come from Mexico. An unnamed official told AFP that Penn and Kate del Castillo, a Mexican actress who brokered the interview, were wanted for questioning "to determine responsibilities". It was unclear whether they paid had committed a crime but the agency quoted a second official as saying: "They're not journalists."
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