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Academy Award-winning actor Sean Penn met in person with Joaquín Guzman Loera, the wanted Mexican drug lord known as “El Chapo,” while he was on the run from Mexican authorities.
The pair ate, drank and talked for seven hours at Guzman’s secret jungle compound following the drug lord’s second escape from jail.
Their conversation, according to Penn, touched on numerous subjects from Hollywood to Guzman’s recent escape to Donald Trump.
Guzman was recaptured by Mexican authorities on Friday, thanks in part to his reaching out to actors and producers in an effort to make a movie about his life.
Here are the five of the most interesting parts of Penn’s Rolling Stone piece.
Penn knew he was being watched by law enforcement
Penn wrote that his preparation for the meeting included using “burner” phones, “one per contact, one per day, destroy, burn, buy, balancing levels of encryption, mirroring through Blackphones, anonymous email addresses, unsent messages accessed in draft form.”
From the moment he landed in Mexico, Penn was “suspicious” of everything, he wrote. “I search the skies for helicopters. There is no question in my mind but that the DEA and the Mexican government are tracking our movements.”
El Chapo wanted to know about Hollywood
Guzman, who was recaptured in part due to reaching out to moviemakers, asked Penn about the biz. “He is interested in the movie business and how it works,” Penn wrote. “He’s unimpressed with its financial yield. The P&L high side doesn’t add up to the downside risk for him. He suggests to us that we consider switching our career paths to the oil business.”
While not done in the same breath, Guzman also asked Penn whether people in the United States knew who he was. Penn assured the drug lord he was well known in America.
El Chapo openly boasted about his drug empire
Guzman did not mince words when talking about his business: drugs. “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats,” Guzman said, according to Penn’s piece.
Guzman tells Penn he started his way of life at the age of 15. “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,” Guzman said, Penn wrote.
Guzman then spoke about the violence that comes with the drug trade. “Look, all I do is defend myself, nothing more. But do I start trouble? Never,” he said, according to Penn.
El Chapo’s most recent daring escape is better explained
The drug kingpin busted out of a maximum-security prison last year via a hole in his cell and a 1,600-yard tunnel that was equipped with lighting and oxygen tanks. Penn wrote that a lot of work went into that escape. “I will discover that his already accomplished engineers had been flown to Germany last year for three months of extensive additional training necessary to deal with the low-lying water table beneath the prison,” Penn wrote. “A tunnel equipped with a pipe-track-guided motorcycle with an engine modified to function in the minimally oxygenized space, allowing El Chapo to drop through a hole in his cell’s shower floor, into its saddle and ride to freedom.”
Donald Trump was discussed
The GOP presidential candidate was talked about, which is a big deal since there was a rumor that the drug kingpin put a $100 million bounty on his head. “I mention Trump. El Chapo smiles, ironically saying, ‘Ah! Mi amigo!'” Penn wrote. Trump reached out to the FBI in July to investigate a threat he received via Twitter following his comments about the escaped drug lord.
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