Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat TY Gus Source
A year before Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug lord better known as “El Chapo,” was arrested, officials had a plan to capture him while actor Sean Penn was visiting him, the New York Post reports.
According to the newspaper, Mexican marines known as the Naval Infantry Force, planned to raid his hideout and take him into custody in October 2015.
Upon learning of the plan to take him down, Ray Donovan, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration special-operations division who had been overseeing the hunt for Guzmán since his latest escape, wanted the raid to be called off.
The Mexican marines, who are an elite, U.S.-trained force, wanted to move forward.
Penn was joined at the meeting by Mexican soap-opera star Kate del Castillo, who organized the meeting with Guzmán. The actors wanted to discuss drug trafficking. The drug lord wanted to chat about making a movie about his life, according to the newspaper.
The DEA wiretapped Guzmán’s phone and listened to plans on the sit-down.
The events leading up to the night were detailed in a new book by Alan Feuer, “El Jefe: The Stalking of Chapo Guzmán.”
Set to hit book shelves on Aug. 25, the book states that Guzmán was unaware his phone conversations were being monitored by the DEA.
According to conversations highlighted in the book, Guzmán didn’t agree to the meeting until after he Googled Penn. Penn didn’t have any intentions of making a movie with or about Guzmán. He traveled to a remote location near the city of Cosalá in the Mexican state of Sinaloa to interview Guzmán for Rolling Stone magazine, a detail he withheld from the kingpin, according to the book.
The meeting was facilitated by del Castillo. Guzmán was a fan of her work. He previously offered her full rights to his life story. She was given a special phone so she could communicate directly with Guzmán via text message.
Feuer writes, “it was undeniably mental that the NSA [National Security Agency] — the NSA — had used its secret hardware to eavesdrop on the world’s most wanted criminal vetting Sean Penn’s Hollywood career.”
Upon learning the Mexican marines wanted to move forward with their plan to capture Guzmán while the actors were visiting, Feuer writes that “Donovan was stunned.”
“Their attitude appeared to be: F- -k Sean Penn, the raid goes on as planned,” he penned.
Bad weather prevented the plan from being executed, according to the author.
He told The Post that the “Americans felt incredibly lucky that the weather made it impossible to launch the attack.”
“It removed the possibility of Sean Penn’s name being splashed across front pages everywhere as a casualty of a drug-war capture operation. ‘US Film Star Killed in Mexico Raid’ would not have been a good look for the DEA,” he told the publication.
In his article for Rolling Stone about his encounter with El Chapo, Penn mentioned the storm that “blew through the mountains with sheets of monsoon rain and “great bolts of lightning … like flash-bang grenades.”
Later, Penn said he had “terrible regret” about his meeting with El Chapo. He said the conversation didn’t “contribute to this conversation on the war on drugs” in an interview with “60 Minutes.”
In January 2016, the Mexican marines caught up with Guzmán. He is serving a life sentence in Colorado at the country’s highest-security prison.
Upon his arrest, he was putting “the finishing touches on [his] movie project,” Feuer writes. “He had lovingly assembled an 18-page promotional package for the film.”
Though he is behind bars, Feuer told the newspaper Guzmán is still “trying to peddle his movie from prison.”