Breaking News Emails
A batch of newly published text messages purportedly shows how former fugitive Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán was eager to set up a clandestine meeting with Latin actress Kate del Castillo — and had apparently never heard of actor Sean Penn.
Guzmán was recaptured early Friday after tunneling out of a Mexican prison cell six months earlier. But during his time on the run, the Sinaloa cartel chieftain had sought to have a biopic made about himself, contacting "actresses and producers" to get the ball rolling, Mexican officials said.
His contact with the outside world while in hiding apparently helped to tip off authorities.
Rolling Stone magazine last weekend first reported a secret interview that the then-fugitive drug lord apparently gave to Penn in October, when he met with the Oscar winner and del Castillo.
The texts published late Tuesday by Mexican newspaper Grupo Milenio show how Guzmán began courting del Castillo, who was born in Mexico and became a U.S. citizen last year, in late September for a meet-and-greet.
NBC News has not verified the text messages.
Guzmán is referred to as "papa" in the purported messages sent to Guzmán's attorney's cellphone, and Guzmán tells the Latin film and television star that he is in Sinaloa and is looking forward to meeting her. He also says that he doesn't drink but would be willing to imbibe if she brings the wine and tequila.
Then, in texts between Guzmán and his attorney, he explains to the cartel kingpin that del Castillo wants Penn to come to their meeting. But Guzmán is not sure who he is.
Penn is described by the attorney for his work in the 2003 movie "21 Grams," made by acclaimed Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, and being known for his political activism.
Guzmán texts his attorney that he is looking up Penn on the Internet.
There are also a series of exchanges between the men about buying del Castillo a cellphone, which he tells his attorney should be a light pink — suitable for a woman, according to Grupo Milenio.
Mexican officials have said they are investigating the meeting that Penn and del Castillo had with Guzmán. A government spokesman said late Tuesday, however, that it's the possibility of illegal acts, rather than specific people, that the government is looking into, according to The Associated Press.
Guzmán has twice escaped from a high-security prison cell in Mexico, and officials on Saturday said they would begin extradition proceedings to send him to the United States on drug trafficking-related cases.
A senior Justice Department official told NBC News that no decision has been made on where Guzmán would stand trial if he's brought to America.
He faces federal charges in New York, Chicago, San Diego, Miami, El Paso, Texas, and Manchester, New Hampshire.
Brooklyn prosecutors have been lobbying heavily to have him face charges there, but the Justice Department official insists that there’s no decision yet on which district has the best case against him.