Joaquin 'El Chapo' was a wanted man. The Mexican drug cartel leader managed to escape prison six months ago, and has been hotly pursued by an international assortment of authorities ever since. But he's managed to evade them all--at least until Friday, when Mexican forces finally managed to bring him into custody. Still, there was someone else who accomplished the seemingly impossible task of coming face-to-face with El Chapo: filmmaker Sean Penn.
In October, the two men met and agreed to speak in an interview for Rolling Stone magazine. Although legal circumstances prevented another face-to-face meeting, the interview was ultimately conducted in December via texts and video conferencing in what must surely be one of the most surreal situations in journalism history. Here's what we learned from the shocking interview.
El Chapo Has No Regrets
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) January 10, 2016
Being on the run and wanted by pretty much every law enforcement official in multiple countries would make many people stop and rethink some of their life choices (especially when those choices involve the murders of countless people, violence, drug dealing, and a host of other crimes) -- but not El Chapo. When speaking with Penn, the kingpin was quick to brag about his cartel and the enormous power it wielded. According to El Chapo, he "supplies more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world." Make no mistake about it: El Chapo is an enormously powerful figure, and is very proud of what he has done.
El Chapo Says 'No' To Drugs
Sean Penn, ‘El Chapo’ agree: We’re to blame for drugs https://t.co/AYAjitsGqD — MarketWatch (@MarketWatch) January 10, 2016
So how did El Chapo manage to become one of the most powerful and frightening drug cartel figures in memory? Partly, it seems, from staying away from the merchandise. Guzman claims he has not done any illegal substances himself in over 20 years, despite his enormous international drug-selling empire.
Sean Penn Sometimes Overshares
Writing about the scent of your fart (“its subtle brume”) in the presence of world’s biggest drug lord is the new peak narcissism #SeanPenn
— Nick Miroff (@NickMiroff) January 10, 2016
I get it: you're interviewing a man wanted for murder, extortion, drug-dealing, and a host of other despicable crimes. Anyone would be nervous, even a seasoned journalist -- and you're simply a humble filmmaker. But why, Sean Penn, did you feel the need to admit in print that you farted in front of El Chapo? And why did you feel the need to describe it? This isn't exactly the sort of hard-hitting journalism we were hoping for.
El Chapo Saw Bright Lights In His Future
Mexican Drug Kingpin El Chapo Captured Amid Movie Production Attempts https://t.co/ac7ffR1OL8 — Variety (@Variety) January 9, 2016
So why did Guzman agree to an interview with Sean Penn? It might have had to do with Hollywood: El Chapo wanted to make a biopic about his life, and the Oscar-winning actor and director is extremely experienced in the ways of filmmaking. Unfortunately, this was the piece of hubris that ultimately brought El Chapo down. According to authorities, it was the drug-lord's decision to reach out to producers and actors (and spend time with the very public figure of Sean Penn) that helped them break the case, allowing them to finally recapture the fugitive.
El Chapo Is No Fan Of Donald Trump
— POLITICO (@politico) January 10, 2016
Maybe this shouldn't come as a surprise, since Trump has said some pretty horrible things about immigrants in general and Mexican immigrants in particular. But El Chapo took particular offense to comments from Trump that called the drug-lord "everything that is wrong with Mexico." After his escape, Guzman posted a furious and vulgarity-filled tweet on the account run by his son, warning Trump to stop angering him. During the interview, Penn mentioned Donald Trump (and possibly the pervasive but unconfirmed rumors that El Chapo had placed a $100 million bounty on the businessman's head). El Chapo simply smiled at the mention of Trump, said "Mi amigo!" and didn't say another word about the presidential candidate.