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While Mexican and American authorities began discussing the extradition of drug baron Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, actor Sean Penn said his Gonzo-style interview with the kingpin "failed" because it didn't spark debate about what he described as Americans' moral complicity in the country's drug-related street violence.
Penn, in an interview with CBS, bemoaned that talk of his clandestine October meeting with Guzman, and his Rolling Stone article about it, has instead focused on whether he indirectly helped authorities capture him — which he denies.
"I have a regret that the entire discussion about this article ignores its purpose, which was to try to contribute to this discussion about the policy in the war on drugs," Penn said in an interview excerpt broadcast Friday morning.
The actor said he sought the interview because he wanted to show the link among the Mexican and U.S. drug trades, Americans' desire for the product, and the violence and deaths that result.
"We are the consumer," Penn said. "Whether you agree with Sean Penn or not, there is a complicity there."
But hardly anyone is talking about that angle, he said.
"My article failed," Penn said.
Penn spoke days after Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez began in-person negotiations with top officials from the U.S. Department of Justice on how to move forward with the extradition of Guzman, a process that will likely take months.
The two sides met in Miami on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
That city also could be the place where Guzman ultimately goes to trial. The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Florida is among seven federal jurisdictions seeking to prosecute Guzman for drug trafficking. Miami is considered a leading contender to take first swing at Guzman, along with Chicago and the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn.
Meantime, Guzman is being held at the maximum security Altiplano prison outside Mexico City — the facility he tunneled out of in July. Mexican officials have outlined various security upgrades to prevent another escape: more surveillance cameras, more guards on duty, and regularly moving Guzman to different cells.