Hollywood star Sean Penn interviewed notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman at a secret location soon after his escape from a maximum security prison in July.
Guzman had escaped from Altiplano prison in July and was recaptured on Friday after months of chasing him.
The interview was conducted in October in the Mexican jungle and was published in Saturday’s edition of Rolling Stone.
Mexican officials said that Penn’s meeting was one of the lead that authorities used to capture the fugitive.
Attorney General Arely Gomez said on Friday that an important aspect of his recapture “was discovering Guzman’s intention to have a biographic film made” since “he contacted actresses and producers, which was part of one line of investigation.”
In the Rolling Stone, Penn wrote that Guzman wanted to have a movie filmed on his life and asked Mexican actress Kate del Castillo to be involved in the project. She was also the person who facilitated the secret meeting between Penn and Guzman.
“He was interested in seeing the story of his life told on film, but would entrust its telling only to Kate,” wrote Penn, who is seen in a photo posted with the interview shaking hands with Guzman.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) January 10, 2016
Penn and Guzman discussed various topics, including drug trafficking, while the drug lord defended his work at the leadership of the world’s biggest drug trafficking organization by saying: “If there was no consumption, there would be no sales.”
When asked if he is to blame for high addiction rates, he responds: “No, that is false, because the day I don’t exist, it’s not going to decrease in any way at all. Drug trafficking? That’s false.
Guzman also talked about his childhood saying that he started working at the age of 6 to help his family. He was selling oranges, soft drinks and candy, while by the age of 15 he had already been involved in drug industry by growing poppy.
“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.”
“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.”
Even though, his organization is also involved in violent crimes, he does not consider himself a violent person.
Asked by Penn if he considered himself a violent person, Guzman answered “No, sir”, adding that “All I do is defend myself, nothing more. But do I start trouble? Never. “
Watch two minutes of the notorious drug lord’s first-ever interview outside an interrogation.