HomeNewsBriefSean Penn Under Surveillance Before 'El Chapo' Meeting in Mexico
BRIEF

Sean Penn Under Surveillance Before 'El Chapo' Meeting in Mexico

EL CHAPO / 13 JAN 2016 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

It has been revealed actor Sean Penn was under surveillance by Mexico intelligence in the run up to his clandestine October 2015 meeting with recently recaptured Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.

Further details have emerged this week regarding the controversial Rolling Stone interview conducted by US actor Penn. On January 11, Mexican daily El Universal published several grainy photographs showing Penn with his fixer, Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, arriving at Guadalajara airport and meeting members of Guzmán's entourage.

Mexican authorities have further claimed that Castillo's communications with Guzmán and his lawyers had been closely monitored since August 2014. Guzmán first reached out to the television actress after she posted a plea on Twitter in 2012 for the drug lord to "traffic with love," adding she believed "more in Chapo Guzmán than in the governments that hide the truth."

Sinaloa-based newspaper Ríodoce has also revealed that the ultimate location for meeting with Guzmán -- then Mexico's most wanted man -- was an ecological park owned by the Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa. The park is located near the city of Cosalá on the border between the states of Sinaloa and Durango, in a remote area of northwest Mexico known as "The Golden Triangle."

InSight Crime Analysis

For many observers, Guzmán's use of a university-owned park that includes a museum, hotel, and observatory is yet more evidence suggesting the complicity of local authorities in his protection and concealment. Yet it should come as little surprise he could hold such a meeting in his home state, where his considerable power meant few people would ever speak out.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of El Chapo

Indeed, Penn notes in his piece that when en route to the meeting point, two government soldiers at a military checkpoint backed away from the vehicle, "looking embarrassed," on catching a glance of his fellow passenger, Guzmán's son Alfredo, through the open window.

As for the extent of surveillance, more details have yet to surface about exactly what Mexican authorities knew of this rendezvous. The degree to which Penn's interview played a part in Guzmán's capture remains unclear. Mexican authorities have said it was "essential," with Mexico Attorney General Arely Gomez saying that authorities are also looking into whether Penn and Castillo broke any laws. In response, Penn has wholeheartedly defended his actions, telling The Associated Press that he has "nothin' to hide."

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

DRUG POLICY / 2 NOV 2020

Facing increased economic hardship, poppy-growing communities in southwest Mexico want to join a state program offering alternative projects, but this…

JUAREZ CARTEL / 1 AUG 2011

Mexico's Federal Police arrested an alleged leader of the La Linea gang, based in Ciudad Juarez, who is accused…

BRAZIL / 28 FEB 2020

A social media post claiming falsely that cocaine can cure COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, has been shared thousands…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…