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Penn: The 'El Chapo' article 'failed'

January 15, 2016

Sean Penn has said that Mexico's claim his interview aided in the capture of "El Chapo" is a "myth." He added that he regretted his article did not contribute to a wider conversation on the so-called "War on Drugs."

Sean Penn met "El Chapo" in the Mexican jungle, far from where he was captured
Image: Rolling Stone via Reuters

In an interview with talk show host Charlie Rose for American broadcaster CBS' "60 Minutes," US actor and activist Sean Penn said that his meeting with drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman did not aid Mexican authorities in his capture.

"There is this myth about the visit that we made, my colleagues and I with 'El Chapo,' that it was…'essential' to his capture," Penn said in a clip of the interview released Friday.

"We know the Mexican government, they clearly were humiliated by the notion that someone found him before they did," the American actor added.

Penn also said that Mexican authorities' claim was aimed at placing him in the crosshairs of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel that Guzman headed.

"El Chapo" was rearrested January 8 following a firefight between Mexican security forces and cartel loyalists.

Guzman remained a fugitive when he met with Penn months after his astonishing prison break in July.

After rumors that authorities may call on Penn to provide evidence against "El Chapo" in court, Mexico announced earlier this week that they were only interested in understanding the circumstances through which the meeting took place in October.

'Terrible regret'

Penn told CBS' Rose that the central aim of his article published by US magazine Rolling Stone was to contribute to the discussion on the so-called "War on Drugs."

"I have a terrible regret," Penn said. "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 on the war on drugs."

"Let me be clear. My article has failed," Penn noted.

Meanwhile, Guzman's lawyer Juan Pablo Badillo said this week that Penn was lying when he reported the drug lord claiming to traffic copious amounts of drugs to the US.

"He [Guzman] could not have made these claims…Mr. Guzman is a very serious man, very intelligent," Badillo said. "Where's the proof? Where's the audio?"

ls/jil (Reuters, AP, dpa)