Officials from both the U.S. and Mexico said that they knew of Sean Penn and Kate del Castillo’s meeting with Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and held off on capturing the drug lord so that the two celebrities would not be caught in the crossfire.
According to a new report by “60 minutes,” Mexican Special Forces were on Guzmán’s trail only 20 days after his escape from the Altiplano maximum security prison last summer. Their mission was to capture to Guzmán alive in early October, but held off until after his meeting with the Hollywood celebrities in order to ensure the safety of Guzmán and Del Castillo.
U.S. officials told the CBS News show that the meeting with Penn and Del Castillo was part of an ever-increasing pattern of recklessness exhibited by Guzmán since his escape from prison.
“He became drunk on his own wine,” former U.S. official Peter Vincent said. “He started to believe the hype … he thought he was untouchable.”
The cartel boss was recaptured in early January during a raid by Mexican Marines, which took place in the city of Los Mochis. During the raid, five suspects were killed and six – including Guzmán – were arrested. Marines seized two armored vehicles, eight rifles, one handgun and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
Guzmán has been indicted on a number of federal jurisdictions throughout the U.S., among them Brooklyn, Manhattan, Chicago and Miami, as well as other cities where the Sinaloa Cartel operates.