The interview actor Sean Penn had with Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman of the Sinaloa cartel -- who, at the time, was a fugitive after escaping from a Mexican prison -- has reportedly sparked an investigation.
Mexican government officials told ABC News that Penn and Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, who allegedly helped arrange the October 2015 interview between the two men, are now under investigation.
In the interview, “El Chapo Speaks,” published on Jan. 9 in Rolling Stone magazine, Penn details how he came to secretly meet with the “most wanted man in the world.”
Penn said the interview was fueled by Guzman’s desire to see “the story of his life told on film.”
“It ... occurs to me all the risks that are being taken by El Chapo in receiving us,” Penn writes. “We had not been blindfolded, and any experienced traveler might have been able to collect a series of triangulated landmarks to re-navigate the journey. But through his faith in Kate, whom he'd only ever known through letters or BBM, are we enjoying an unusual trust.”
It is believed Penn’s meeting with Guzman helped authorities capture the fugitive, but the U.S. Department of Justice has declined to comment on the story, reported ABC News.
During the interview, Guzman asks Penn if people in the United States know about him, and Penn answers, “Oh yeah.”
The drug lord also questions Penn about the movie business and how it works but says he is “unimpressed with its financial yield.”
“The P&L high side doesn't add up to the downside risk for him,” Penn writes. "He suggests to us that we consider switching our career paths to the oil business."
If his funds were not illicit, and therefore restricting when it comes to his investment opportunities, Guzman says he would “aspire to the energy sector.”
The interview soon moves along to another business: drugs.
"I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world,” Guzman tells Penn. "I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats."
Penn says Guzman was entirely unapologetic throughout the interview.
The subject of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is raised by Penn, as rumor has it Guzman has allegedly put a $100 million bounty on the businessman’s head.
“Ah! Mi amigo!” Guzman responds.
In business, Penn discovers, Guzman finds everyone is easy to deal with.
“‘Of all the countries and cultures with whom you do business, which is the most difficult?’" Penn asks. "Smiling, he shakes his head and says an unequivocal 'None.' There is no politician who could answer the same question so clearly or successfully, but then again, the challenges are quite different for a global power broker who simply removes any obstacle to 'difficulties.'"
As the interview concludes, Penn writes that he and Guzman agreed to meet again in eight days for a formal interview.
That interview never happened, as the DEA was allegedly aware of Penn’s meeting with Guzman, and authorities were closing in on the fugitive.
Penn did receive a recorded interview from Guzman, in which he answered questions sent to him by the actor.
Guzman was captured by Mexican authorities on Jan. 8, Penn’s interview may have helped lead officials to the drug lord.
“He established communication with actors and producers, which has formed a new line of investigation,” Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez said, according to Los Angeles Times.
The Mexican government has now begun extradition proceedings so Guzman can be sent to the U.S. to be prosecuted.
The U.S. government has made two formal extradition requests for crimes including murder, money laundering, and arms possession.
“Guzman ... and his lawyers now have three days to file objections and 20 more days to prove them,” a statement from the Mexican government read.
Guzman’s lawyer, Juan Pablo Badillo, said the challenge to the extradition request has already been made.
“Damn federales!” Guzman allegedly exclaimed upon capture. "They got us."