The Americas

Mexican actress tied to 'El Chapo' says she faces new legal case in homeland

The Mexican actress tied to Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman said that while authorities in her homeland were no longer seeking to locate and question her, the case has not yet been closed and that a new one had been opened.

Kate Del Castillo said that because of these proceedings she lacked the necessary legal guarantees to travel from the United States, where she has lived for several years and is a naturalized citizen, to her place of birth.

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The 44-year-old actress, best known for her role as a powerful, tequila-drinking drug trafficker in the 2011 telenovela "La Reina del Sur" (The Queen of the South), made the remarks via videoconference at the presentation in Mexico City of "Ingobernable" (Ungovernable), a political drama series that is scheduled to debut on Netflix on Friday.

In February, Mexico's federal Attorney General's Office announced that in compliance with a court ruling it had canceled the order to locate and question the actress.

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The AG's office had said upon issuing the order last year that Del Castillo may have received money from Guzman for a tequila company she represents or for a film about the life of the Sinaloa cartel kingpin, who was extradited to the US in January and faces a range of drug trafficking-related charges, including criminal conspiracy, racketeering and money laundering.

He could be sentenced to life in prison if he stands trial and is convicted.

Castillo said via video link that a second case had been opened against her in the Aztec nation but that she did not know any details; Mexican authorities have not confirmed that information.

"It's not that I can't (go to Mexico), but I don't want to," she said.

Del Castillo said in an interview last year with The New Yorker that El Chapo got in contact with her through his attorneys before escaping from a maximum-security prison in Mexico in July 2015 and gave her the rights to a potential biopic.

Guzman sought her out after Del Castillo posted a message on Twitter in 2012 expressing disgust with Mexico's government and urging the drug lord to use his power and influence for the good of the country.

A group comprising Del Castillo, American actor Sean Penn and some film producers met on Oct. 2, 2015, with Guzman at his hideout in the northwestern state of Sinaloa after a small plane flight and a seven-hour car journey with one of the drug lord's sons at the wheel.

At the hideout, Penn interviewed Guzman for a Rolling Stone article that was published on Jan. 9, 2016, a day after the fugitive was recaptured in Sinaloa.

"Do I regret having gone to Sinaloa? I don't regret anything at all," Del Castillo said of the meeting.

In the 20-episode, Spanish-language "Ingobernable," the actress plays a Mexican first lady who is forced to go into hiding after being accused of killing her husband.

Del Castillo said there were parallels between her character's plight and the media persecution she experienced after news of her meeting with Guzman became public.

"That feeling that you're alone in the world, fending off lies, attacks. It's very powerful, something that's permanently etched into your body," the actress said.