Yesterday the leader of the infamous Sinaloa cartel, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, was captured after six months on the run by Mexican law enforcement. This evening the story takes a turn for the weird. American actor Sean Penn — fucking Spicoli, of all people — met with the drug kingpin back in September for a seven hour interview. This evening Rolling Stone published the interview and, oh boy, is it a hell of a read.
Sean Penn’s meeting is the first interview the billionaire fugitive drug kingpin has ever given. Authorities in Mexico on Friday said that El Chapo was nabbed from contacting Hollywood producers about turning his story into a movie or TV series. Via NY Times:
In the end, the Mexican authorities said Friday night that Mr. Guzmán had been caught partly because he had been planning a movie about his life, and had contacted actors and producers, which had helped the authorities to track him down. Mr. Penn’s story says that Mr. Guzmán, inundated with Hollywood offers while in prison, had indeed elected to make his own movie. Ms. del Castillo, whom he contacted through his lawyer after she posted supportive messages on Twitter, was the only person he trusted to shepherd the project, according to the story. Mr. Penn heard about the connection with Ms. del Castillo through a mutual acquaintance, and asked if he might do an interview.
UPDATE: Sean Penn might be a dead man now? Authorities say Sean Penn’s interview with the drug kingpin is what led them to El Chapo.
And it’s about to get a WHOLE LOT crazier. He and actress Kate Del Castillos, who was accompanying him, are now under investigation:
Go read the New York Times condensed version if you want the TL;DR. Meanwhile, Sean Penn’s Rolling Stone article is verbose and masturbatory and wayyyyy too try-hard, though FILLED with the kind of gems you’d expect Sean Penn to include. But you should read it. And more importantly, you should go see the video segment El Chapo sent Penn after he had to cut the conversation short because authorities were on to his location (they raided the hideout where they met a few days later).
Let’s start with El Chapo boasting about his empire:
“How much money will you make writing this article?” he asks. I answer that when I do journalism, I take no payment. I could see that, to him, the idea of doing any kind of work without payment is a fool’s game. Unlike the gangsters we’re used to, the John Gotti’s who claimed to be simple businessmen hiding behind numerous international front companies, El Chapo sticks to an illicit game, proudly volunteering, “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.”
And Sean Penn gas-bagging about how he farted in front of El Chapo:
In a narrow, dark passage between ours and an adjacent bungalow, Chapo puts his arm over my shoulder and renews his request that I see him in eight days. “I’ll be saying goodbye now,” he says. At this moment, I expel a minor traveler’s flatulence (sorry), and with it, I experience the same chivalry he’d offered when putting Kate to bed, as he pretends not to notice. We escape its subtle brume, and I join my colleagues inside the bungalow. There are two beds and one couch a short distance from where Kate can be seen sleeping on a third bed behind a privacy divider. Espinoza returns to the bed he’d claimed upon our arrival.
And, of course, Sean Penn talking about his dick:
It’s been about two hours of flight, when we descend from above the lush peaks to ward a sea-level field. The pilot, using his encrypted cellphone, talks to the ground. I sense that the military is beefing up operations in its search area. Our original landing zone has suddenly been deemed insecure. After quite a bit of chatter from ground to air, and some unnervingly low altitude circling, we find an alternate dirt patch where two SUVs wait in the shade of an adjacent tree line, and land. The flight had been just bumpy enough that each of us had taken a few swigs off a bottle of Honor tequila, a new brand that Kate is marketing. I step from plane to earth, ever so slightly sobering my bearings, and move toward the beckoning waves of waiting drivers. I throw my satchel into the open back of one of the SUVs, and lumber over to the tree line to take a piss. Dick in hand, I do consider it among my body parts vulnerable to the knives of irrational narco types, and take a fond last look, before tucking it back into my pants.
Besides all the stuff that makes us go..
…there’s some meat and potatos about El Chapo himself. Like the story of El Chapo’s origins in the drug business:
How was your childhood?
I remember from the time I was six until now, my parents, a very humble family, very poor, I remember how my mom made bread to support the family. I would sell it, I sold oranges, I sold soft drinks, I sold candy. My mom, she was a hard worker, she worked a lot. We grew corn, beans. I took care of my grandmother’s cattle and chopped wood.
And how did you get involved in the drug business?
Well, from the time I was 15 and after, where I come from, which is the municipality of Badiraguato, I was raised in a ranch named La Tuna, in that area, and up until today, there are no job opportunities. The only way to have money to buy food, to survive, is to grow poppy, marijuana, and at that age, I began to grow it, to cultivate it and to sell it. That is what I can tell you.
And how nothing changed with his drug business while in jail:
Did your drug business grow and expand when you were in jail?
From what I can tell, and what I know, everything is the same. Nothing has decreased. Nothing has increased.
And how El Chapo doesn’t consider himself a violent man, despite the Sinaloa cartel’s alleged involvement in thousands of deaths around Mexico and Central America:
What about the violence attached to this type of activity?
In part, it is because already some people already grow up with problems, and there is some envy and they have information against someone else. That is what creates violence.
Do you consider yourself a violent person?
Are you prone to violence, or do you use it as a last resort?
Look, all I do is defend myself, nothing more. But do I start trouble? Never.
Unreal. Go read the whole thing here.