On January 8, drug kingpin
Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known as El Chapo, was recaptured, having escaped from a Mexican prison through a customised underground tunnel system on July 11, 2015.
A day later, Rolling Stone published an interview actor Sean Penn had conducted with the drug lord three months after he had made the infamous escape. The interview, brokered by Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, may have led to El Chapo’s capture this year, according to a Mexican official.
But del Castillo says not everything Penn wrote about is accurate, though he continues to claim it is.
In an interview with the New Yorker that just came out online, del Castillo tells her side of the story.
Penn claims that del Castillo was aware of the Rolling Stone story before the two headed to Mexico to meet El Chapo. Del Castillo calls Penn’s statement “total and complete bulls—.”
She says that she initially thought he was interested in joining her as a partner for the film project she was working on about El Chapo (the drug lord’s interest in such a film is what led to del Castillo previously meeting with the drug lord’s lawyers).
She says she only became aware of Penn’s article when the actor mentioned it during the in-person meeting with El Chapo.
Penn wrote that the actress’ first correspondence with El Chapo happened when a lawyer for the drug lord reached out to her for an address in order to send flowers. Del Castillo claims that they had wanted to send flowers, but never did, and she only learned of that plan after having lunch with two of El Chapo’s lawyers in September 2014, a meeting that took place more than two years after she tweeted about her distrust of the Mexican government, which got El Chapo’s attention.
Penn and del Castillo were joined by two producers on their trip, and they both recall the article being discussed at different times, but before the meeting with El Chapo.
There’s another disagreement about an alleged strange encounter with the Mexican military as the group was on the way to El Chapo’s hidden location. As Penn writes:
“And then, as it seems we are at the entrance of Oz, the highest peak visibly within reach, we arrive at a military checkpoint. Two uniformed government soldiers, weapons at the ready, approach our vehicle. Alfredo lowers his passenger window; the soldiers back away, looking embarrassed, and wave us through. Wow. So it is, the power of a Guzmán face. And the corruption of an institution.”
Del Castillo, Sulichin, and Ibáñez all deny that this encounter took place. But del Castillo did look over Penn’s final draft and never attempted to correct that discrepancy, though she says she didn’t read the story in its entirety when presented with the draft on Penn’s phone.
The actress is currently under investigation by the Mexican government for money laundering because of her connection to the drug lord. She calls this a “witch hunt.” El Chapo has said he would testify on her behalf.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.