Guzman investigation not targeting actors directly

Mexico not targeting actors Sean Penn and Kate del Castillo directly for meeting drug boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, but will investigate circumstances

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Actor Sean Penn (L) shakes hands with Mexican drug lord Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman in Mexico, in this undated Rolling Stone handout photo obtained by Reuters on January 10, 2016

Investigations regarding Guzman’s secret meeting with actors Sean Penn and Kate del Castillo are not targeting the actors directly, but instead exploring the circumstances, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.

The secret meeting in October, to discuss a Rolling Stone magazine article, was an "essential element" that led to Guzman's capture, Mexico’s Attorney General Arely Gomez said on Monday.

Guzman was recaptured on Friday in a raid that left five suspects dead and he is now back in the same maximum security prison he escaped six months ago via a tunnel that lead up to his cell’s shower floor.

The decision to put Guzman in the same prison was defended by officials, saying security was intensified to avert another escape.

With concern that Guzman may escape for a third time, authorities have intensified security measures by placing reinforced bars on his cell floor, with a guard standing watch at his door 24/7.

According to Mexico’s government spokesman Eduardo Sanchez, improved security measures include the number of inmates being reduced, cameras on site being quadrupled and Guzman being randomly moved, without warning, to different locations of the prison.

Guzman had instructed his lawyers to trademark his name with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), before the jailbreak last year, giving Mexican authorities an indication that he wanted to make a biopic of himself, however IMPI denied his request, local media said on Tuesday.

IMPI allegedly rejected two of his applications to trademark the name “Joaquin El Chapo Guzman” and “El Chapo Guzman” in 2011, according to Reuters.

Guzman is planned to be extradited to the United States, where he is wanted for exporting tonnes of heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine across the border.

A court in Texas has given guarantees to Mexico that if it receives Guzman as part of the extradition process, it will not seek the death penalty against him, Mexico’s Attorney General Office's head of International Proceedings, Jose Manuel Merino, said in a newspaper interview on Tuesday.

A “diplomatic note” will be presented to US authorities so that no other US jurisdiction will be able to seek the death penalty against the extradited drug boss, Merino added.

Guzman, with his chief subordinate, had escaped a raid by Mexican security forces by opening a secret door hidden behind a mirror in his walk-in-bedroom closet, and descending into a tunnel that connected to the stormwater drainage.

After crawling a mile through an underground drainage, they surfaced from the tunnel and stole a white Volkswagen Jetta at gunpoint.

The car was ditched after about a mile due to causing dilemmas, forcing Guzman and his henchman to steal another car, they were then stopped and captured by police shortly after.

Guzman is wanted by the US for charges ranging from money laundering, drug trafficking, kidnapping, gang warfare and murder, facing open federal indictments in seven US jurisdictions.

TRTWorld, Reuters