Mexican government investigating meeting between 'El Chapo' and Sean Penn

MEXICO CITY - Mexican officials said they are investigating the meeting that then-fugitive drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman held with actor Sean Penn and actress Kate del Castillo in October to see if any crimes were committed.

See Full Article

But government spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said late Tuesday that it is the possibility of illegal acts, rather than specific people, that authorities in Mexico are looking into.

"We investigate actions, we don't investigate people," he said. "The attorney General's Office is investigating this event and others involving contacts that Joaquin Guzman had while he was on the run."

Carlos Barragan y Salvatierra, a professor of law at Mexico's National University, said there would be little ground to prosecute Penn or Del Castillo, unless money or gifts changed hands.

"If during the dinner El Chapo gave them money, or jewels, or he gave them money for the movie or any other transaction, they could be charged with money laundering," Barragan y Salvatierra said.

But he noted, "meeting with a fugitive or criminal is not a crime, even if the law says we should report crimes, there is no punishment for not doing so."

Asked about scrutiny of his controversial meeting with the fugitive drug lord at a hideout in rural Mexico, Penn on Monday would only say: "I've got nothin' to hide."

Mexican officials have said the meeting helped them track down Guzman, who was recaptured Friday following a bloody shooting with marines in the city of Los Mochis in Guzman's home state of Sinaloa. Images released to a Mexican newspaper showed that Penn and Del Castillo were under surveillance.

Del Castillo has not publicly commented on the meeting. But a federal official said Tuesday that Guzman appears to have been infatuated with del Castillo, apparently referring to her by the code name "Hermosa," or "Beautiful." The drug lord also wanted a second meeting with her according to the official, who was not authorized to be quoted by name.

Sanchez, however, did criticize what he said were attempts to glorify drug traffickers. "We very much regret the acts of any citizen who collaborates with organized crime, because many times drug traffickers have been stereotyped as people who have their good side, or who in some way do good things."

"They paint them as heroes, and attractive and generous," Sanchez said. "The reality is that these types of criminals have raped women, have killed children, have tortured women and men."

A Los Angeles, California based clothing store has begun advertising flashy blue, baroque-print shirts like the one Guzman wore in a photograph with Penn. The company advertised it alongside Guzman's picture, with the slogan "Most Wanted ... Shirt." In the past, polo shirts like one worn by drug trafficker Edgar Valdez Villarreal, "La Barbie," gained broad popularity in Mexico.

Penn had his own implied criticism for Mexican forces, expressing surprise that a soldier at a checkpoint waved his vehicle through on the way to the meeting with Guzman in October. But the federal official said that action had proved "very useful" in the hunt, suggesting it was part of the plan.

The official said that authorities were following Penn and Del Castillo's movements all the time after they arrived in Mexico to meet with Guzman.

Barragan y Salvatierra said that meeting with Guzman for journalistic purposes would be a solid defence.

"In the case of a meeting for an interview or to prepare a film, it is even less (prosecutable), because an actor could argue that even though they're not journalists, they were doing journalistic work, and thus the law would protect them."

July's escape by Guzman was the elusive drug lord's second from a Mexican maximum security prison and deeply embarrassed the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto and created friction with Washington, which had sought his extradition to the United States.

This time around, Mexican officials have said they are willing to extradite Guzman but warn the process could take a year. In the meantime, they plan to take extraordinary measure to prevent a third escape.

Late Tuesday, a Mexican federal official said the government is moving Guzman constantly from cell to cell. Guzman has been moved eight times at the Altiplano prison since his recapture Friday, he said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'Justine did not have to die': Minneapolis police chief addresses shooting of woman who called 911

    World News CBC News
    The fatal shooting of an Australian woman by a Minneapolis, Minn., police officer responding to her 911 call "should not have happened," police Chief Janee Harteau said, adding that the officer's actions "go against who we are in the department. Source
  • Israel limits Muslim access to Jerusalem site amid tensions

    World News CBC News
    Israel banned Muslim men under the age of 50 from a contested Jerusalem shrine on Friday, ahead of expected protests over the installation of metal detectors there. Police reinforcements poured into Jerusalem's Arab neighbourhoods in the morning, particularly in an around the walled Old City where the shrine is located. Source
  • Even after Trump warning, Mueller likely to probe president's finances: reports

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump's growing anxiety about the federal Russia probe has spilled into public view with his warning in a New York Times interview earlier this week that special counsel Robert Mueller would be out of bounds if he dug into the Trump family's finances. Source
  • In South Sudan, a child soldier long thought dead comes back

    World News CTV News
    JUBA, South Sudan -- She had no body to bury, so the grieving mother kneeled in the dirt outside her small hut, recited psalms and simply traced her finger over the uneven earth. It was December 2015, a year after Nyayan Koang’s boy was abducted by government soldiers at the age of just 14 to fight in South Sudan’s army. Source
  • Asian ISIS supporters galvanized by Philippine city siege: report

    World News CTV News
    JAKARTA, Indonesia - The attack by Islamic State group-affiliated militants on a Philippine city has galvanized its Southeast Asian supporters and spells trouble for the region, a top terrorism researcher said Friday as the occupation of Marawi nears two months despite a sustained military offensive. Source
  • Quake damages buildings on Greek island; 2 killed, 120 hurt

    World News Toronto Sun
    ATHENS, Greece — A powerful earthquake shook the Greek resort island of Kos early Friday morning, damaging older and historic buildings and the main port, killing at least two people and causing more than 120 injuries, authorities said. Source
  • Trump legal team looking to investigate Mueller's investigative team

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump's legal team is evaluating potential conflicts of interest among members of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team, three people with knowledge of the matter said Thursday. The revelations come as Mueller's investigation appears likely to probe some of the Trump family's business ties. Source
  • South Korea calls for North Korea to respond to talk offers

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - South Korea on Friday urged North Korea to accept its offers for talks as Pyongyang continued to ignore Seoul's proposal for a military meeting to ease animosities along their tense border. Source
  • Coffee recalled: It's not caffeine keeping you up

    World News Toronto Sun
    GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — A Texas coffee company is recalling one of its roasts because it was making some men a bit too excited. Bestherbs Coffee LLC issued the voluntary recall for its New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Natural Herbs Coffee after the U.S. Source
  • Parole hearing for Paul Bernardo pushed back

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Schoolgirl killer Paul Bernardo’s bid for parole has been delayed. The notorious sicko began his application for day parole last year. He was scheduled to have a hearing in August, but that has since been pushed back to October, according to various media reports. Source