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Sean Penn says Mexico wants him in drug cartel crosshairs over El Chapo capture

Published 16/01/2016

Sean Penn says his article on Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman failed in its mission (AP)
Sean Penn says his article on Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman failed in its mission (AP)

Sean Penn has claimed that the Mexican government deliberately credited him with the capture of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to put him in the crosshairs of his feared gang.

In an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes, host Charlie Rose asked the actor whether he believed Mexico president Enrique Pena Nieto's government credited Penn because "they want to see you blamed and put at risk" from the Sinaloa Cartel.

"Yes," Penn replied.

Rose continued: "They wanted to encourage the cartel to put you in their crosshairs?"

"Yes," Penn again confirmed.

He explained: "There is this myth about the visit that we made, my colleagues and I with El Chapo, that it was ... 'essential' to his capture."

He added: "We know the Mexican government, they clearly were humiliated by the notion that someone found him before they did."

Penn, who was interviewing the Mexican fugitive drug lord for an article for Rolling Stone magazine, said he had in fact met Guzman "many weeks earlier on October 2 in a place nowhere near to where he was captured".

The Oscar-winning actor said he agreed to do the interview to "begin a conversation about the policy of the War on Drugs. That was my simple idea."

He confirmed to Rose that he had failed in his intention.

"I have a terrible regret. 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 on the War on Drugs."

"Let me be clear. My article has failed," he said.

Sean Penn's episode of 60 Minutes airs on CBS on Sunday.

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