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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    View attachment 47925 Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo, started out in business not long after turning 6, selling oranges and soft drinks. By 15, he said in an interview conducted in a jungle clearing by the actor and director Sean Penn for Rolling Stone magazine, he had begun to grow marijuana and poppies because there was no other way for his impoverished family to survive.

    Now, unapologetically, he said: “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.”

    Though his fortune, estimated at $1 billion, has come with a trail of blood, he does not consider himself a violent man. “Look, all I do is defend myself, nothing more,” he told Mr. Penn. “But do I start trouble? Never.”

    Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug kingpin known as El Chapo, was made to face the press as he was escorted to a helicopter in handcuffs by Mexican soldiers and marines at a federal hangar in Mexico City on Friday.El Chapo, Escaped Mexican Drug Lord, Is Recaptured in Gun BattleJAN. 8, 2016
    graphic How Mexico’s Most-Wanted Drug Lord Escaped From Prison (Again)JULY 13, 2015
    The seven hours Mr. Guzmán spent with Mr. Penn, and the follow-up interviews by phone and video, which began in October while he was on the run from the Mexican and American authorities, marked another surreal turn in his long-running battle to evade Mexican and American authorities. Mr. Guzmán, one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, who had twice escaped jail, was captured in his home state of Sinaloa in northwest Mexico on Friday after a gun battle with the authorities.

    It also marks a stark admission that he has operated a drug empire. Interviewed by a group of reporters in 1993 after a previous arrest, Mr. Guzmán denied that he engaged in drug dealing. “I’m a farmer,” he said, listing his produce as corn and beans. He denied that he used weapons or had a significant funds.

    The interview with Rolling Stone, believed to be the first Mr. Guzmán has given in decades, was conducted over several sessions. It was scheduled to be published online Saturday night.

    The interviews were held in a jungle clearing atop a mountain at an undisclosed location in Mexico. Surrounded by more than 100 cartel troops, and wearing a silk shirt and pressed black jeans, Mr. Guzmán sat down to dinner with Mr. Penn and Kate del Castillo, an actress who once played a drug kingpin in a soap opera.

    Even though Mexican troops attacked his hide-out in the days after the meeting, necessitating a narrow escape, Mr. Guzmán continued the interview by BlackBerry Messenger and in a video delivered by courier to the pair later.

    The story provides new details on his dramatic escape from prison last summer, when he disappeared through a hole in his shower into a mile-long tunnel that some engineers estimated took more than a year and at least $1 million to build. The engineers, Mr. Penn wrote, had been flown to Germany for specialized training. A motorcycle on rails inside the tunnel had been modified to run in the low-oxygen environment, deep underground.

    Mr. Penn’s account is likely to deepen the concern among the Mexican authorities already embarrassed by Mr. Guzmán’s multiple escapes, the months required to find him again and his status for some as something of a folk hero. Mr. Penn describes being waved through a military road checkpoint on his way to meet Mr. Guzmán, which Mr. Penn suggested was because the soldiers recognized Mr. Guzmán’s son. Mr. Penn said he was also told, during a leg of the journey taken in a small plane equipped with a scrambling device for ground radar only, that the cartel was informed by an insider when the military deployed a high-altitude surveillance plane that might have spotted their movements.

    In the end, the Mexican authorities said Friday night that Mr. Guzmán had been caught partly because he had been planning a movie about his life, and had contacted actors and producers, which had helped the authorities to track him down. Mr. Penn’s story says that Mr. Guzmán, inundated with Hollywood offers while in prison, had indeed elected to make his own movie. Ms. del Castillo, whom he contacted through his lawyer after she posted supportive messages on Twitter, was the only person he trusted to shepherd the project, according to the story. Mr. Penn heard about the connection with Ms. del Castillo through a mutual acquaintance, and asked if he might do an interview.

    It is not clear whether the contacts described in the story are the ones that led to Mr. Guzmán’s arrest. Mr. Penn wrote that he had gone to great lengths to maintain security while arranging to meet Mr. Guzmán. He described labeling cheap “burner” phones, “one per contact, one per day, destroy, burn, buy, balancing levels of encryption, mirroring through Blackphones, anonymous email addresses, unsent messages accessed in draft form.” Nevertheless, he wrote, “there is no question in my mind but that DEA and the Mexican government are tracking our movements,” referring to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

    Mr. Penn and Mr. Guzmán spoke for seven hours, the story reports, at a compound amid dense jungle. The topics of conversation turned in unexpected directions. At one stage, Mr. Penn brought up Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential candidate; there were some reports that Mr. Guzmán had put a $100 million bounty on Mr. Trump after he made comments offensive to Mexicans. “Ah! Mi amigo!” Mr. Guzmán responded.

    He asked Mr. Penn whether people in America were interested in him and laughed when Mr. Penn told him that the Fusion channel was repeating a documentary on him, “Chasing El Chapo.”

    Mr. Guzmán, Mr. Penn wrote, was also interested in the movie business and how it works. “He’s unimpressed with its financial yield,” wrote Mr. Penn, a two-time Academy Award winner for best actor. The “high side doesn’t add up to the downside risk for him. He suggests to us that we consider switching our career paths to the oil business.”

    In a wider-ranging interview, for which Mr. Penn submitted questions that were put to Mr. Guzmán on video by one of his associates, he detailed his childhood and said he had tried drugs during his life but had never been an addict and had not touched them for 20 years. He said that he was happy to be free, and that the pressure of evading the authorities was normal for him.

    Pushed on the morality of his business, he said it was a reality “that drugs destroy. Unfortunately, as I said, where I grew up there was no other way and there still isn’t a way to survive, no way to work in our economy to be able to make a living.” If he disappeared, he said, it would make no difference to the drug business anyway.

    Asked about the violence attached to his work, he said in part it happened “because already some people already grow up with problems, and there is some envy and they have information against someone else. That is what creates violence.”

    Mr. Guzmán, Mr. Penn said, was familiar with the final days of Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug boss who had previously been the world’s most notorious and who died in a shootout with the authorities. How, he asked, did Mr. Guzmán see his last days? “I know one day I will die,” he said. “I hope it’s of natural causes.”

    By Ravi Samaiya - The NY Times/Jan. 8, 2016
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. SmokeTwibz
    "The Rolling Stone Sean Penn, El Chapo interview"
    As much as some people distrust any information coming from the Federal Government of Mexico, maybe the statements by AG Arley Gomez made about Chapo wanted to make movie about himself and had been in touch with film makers might be true. She said in her statement that Police and the military successfully hunted down Guzman and his henchmen this week partly because he or his representatives contacted filmmakers about making an El Chapo movie of his life,

    A secret visit with the most wanted man in the world

    Rolling Stone magazine published on Saturday, Jan. 9, a story written by Sean Penn about a secret meeting he had with El Chapo in October of last year.

    It took months of planning and secret meetings to arrange the interview with Guzman. Penn described all that he went through to set up the meeting as a "clandestine horror show". Burner phones, anonymous email accounts encrypting and mirroring messages was all new to him. he described himself as so "technologically illiterate" that he had never learned to use a laptop.

    Penn explained his interest in meeting with and interviewing El Chapo stemmed from being drawn to explore what may be inconsistent with portrayals that our government and media brand upon their declared enemies.

    He went on to say that he was not particularly proud of keeping secrets that might be perceived as protecting criminals, but that he tried to avoid pre-judging El Chapo. He didn't portray Guzman as a hero nor a monster and only wanted the interview to portray the truth. Having seen videos and photos reflecting what the War on Drugs had wrought on the Mexican people, he was also aware of Chapo's reputation as a business man first and foremost and did not engage in kidnappings and murder unless he deemed it as necessary for his business interest. Penn also knew that in agreeing to meet with him, "Chapo's trust could not be fucked with".

    After all the whispering in conversations with his associates, using code words, and the meetings in the dark corners of out of the way restaurants, all of which could have scenes from one of his movies, he finally made contact with a "well connected" individual who after hearing what Penn wanted to do and why he wanted to do it, who set up a meeting in LA with one of the few people that Chapo trusted in the US.

    So the next day he flew to LA to meet with Kate del Castillo, one of the most famous actresses in Mexico. She had been the star of one of the most popular novelas in Mexico, La Reina del Sur. She had used Twitter to express her distrust of the Mexican government and in one of her Tweets she had said that in a decision as to who she would trust, the government or Chapo, she would choose Chapo.
    As reported in Rolling Stone, In that Tweet she said;
    "Mr. Chapo, wouldn't it be cool that you started trafficking with love? With cures for diseases, with food for the homeless children, with alcohol for the retirement homes that don't let the elderly spend the rest of the days doing whatever the fuck they want. Imagine trafficking with corrupt politicians instead of women and children who end up as slaves. Why don't you burn all those whorehouses where women are worth less than a pack of cigarettes. Without offer, there's no demand. Come on, Don! You would be the hero of heroes. Let's traffic with love. You know how to. Life is a business and the only thing that changes is the merchandise. Don't you agree?"
    Chapo, though almost illiterate, became aware of the tweet and one of his lawyers contacted Ms. Costillo to express Chapo's appreciation of her tweet.

    Two years later, after Chapo was imprisoned in Altiplano the second time, he was besieged by Hollywood wanting to make a movie about his life. Chapo did not trust the promoters from Hollywood and was not interested in them making a movie about him. But it did give him the idea to make his own movie about himself. He had the same lawyer get in contact with Costillo again to discuss it.

    That began a more or less regular line of communication in the form of handwritten letters between Costillo and the imprisoned drug lord. It was concluded that it was not feasible to do the movie due to the restricted access they would have to Chapo in prison.

    After Chapo's escape from prison through the infamous tunnel, it became a whole new ballgame.

    Penn had been aware of Chapo's interest in making a movie and he followed the news closely about Chapo's escape. In a meeting with a friend and sometimes associate in Paris they discussed Chapo's escape and his friend, Espinoza, mentioned that one of his friends, Kate del Costillo had an ongoing long distance relationship with Chapo and that Chapo seemingly trusted her.

    With this information in hand Penn contacted Rolling Stone about doing the interview and a story for Rolling Stone. The editor gave him the assignment.

    After meeting with Costillo and one of Chapo's people in LA, Chapo agreed to meet with Penn. That is when the real journey began. A frightful and harrowing trip that started at 7AM in LA and ended at 9PM on a little knoll near the top of a mountain. The journey included a chartered jet from LA to a city in Central Mexico. From there the travel for an hour and a half in a SUV at speeds up to 100MPH to a dirt airfield. He notes that the driver is wearing a wrist watch that may have "had more value than the money housed in central banks of most nation states. (Later Penn discovers the driver is one of Chapo's sons).

    From the dirt airfield they endure a low level bumpy flight to another dirt strip equipped with ground radar blocking jamming device. After a 2 hour flight they land at another dirt strip at sea level. From there they board another SUV for a several hour trip up the mountains, including passing through a military checkpoint that waived them through after seeing who was driving the SUV (Chapo's son).

    Arriving at the compound on top of the mountain, El Chapo himself appeared and hugged Kate who he was finally getting to meet in person after all their long distance relationship and extended a cordial welcome to Penn and his companions. After which they had a relaxed dinner catered by some neighboring women. There were a variety of dishes served, including carne asada, which Penn said he passed on because of his recollection of cartels calling victims who they incinerated or boiled as carne asada.

    After spending seven hours with Chapo during dinner and drinks afterward, Penn gained some insight and impressions of Chapo. During the seven hour sit-down with Chapo, he said Chapo had a smile on his face nearly the whole time. Penn said Chapo had a indisputable charisma. Chapo seemed humble and fascinated that Penn wanted to do a story about him for a national publication. He asked Penn at one point if people in the United States knew about him. Penn told him that the night before he left for Mexico there was a TV special aired entitled "Chasing el Chapo". Chapo chuckled.

    Chapo told Penn "I don't want to portrayed as a nun". He went on to say in an unapologetic, but not braggadocios manner ""I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats." (quotes from Rolling Stone article)

    Before they all retired to the bungalows, Penn asked Chapo if he could stay over in the morning and have 2 days to interview him. Chapo responded that they had just met and if Penn would return in 8 days, they would conduct the interview. Presumably Chapo wanted time to do some background checks on Penn rather than just relying on his trust of Kate.
    After 2 hours sleep the group was awakened and told there was a major storm approaching and if they did not leave immediately they would not be able to maneuver the dirt roads going down the mountain and that now there were many military checkpoints now on the road. Fortunately the downpour had caused all the soldiers manning the checkpoints to seek shelter and the group made their way down without being stopped. Penn and party all went home (without the recorded interview).

    Unbeknownst to Penn and the public was that when the rain stopped the Marines initiated a major operation in the area, raiding and searching and locking down 13 towns and ranch properties. It is still unkown how many were killed or forced to abandon their homes. . The media reported days later that one of Chapo's crew had a cell phone which the feds were able to track as Chapo and crew left the mountain.

    Over the next several days several confrontations with the military and police occurred, but the outcome of the mayhem was only a "nearly successful raid" in which the govt. claimed Chapo suffered an injury to his leg and face. In a latter message exchange with Kate Costillo Chapo said in response to a question by Kate, ""Not like they said. I only hurt my leg a little bit."

    Though they were unable to re-establish contact after that Penn returned to the airport on the 8th day as he said he would, but no one contacted him there.

    Penn submitted the questions and as day after day passed and there was no video Penn pestered Kate relentlessly asking about it.

    Then an encrypted message came from Kate, "Got it",, followed by ".you pushy motherfucker." "Press play" (quotes from Rolling Stone")

    Penn said that though the person reading the questions soft pedaled some of them and omitted others, the questions were mostly there.

    How was your childhood?
    I remember from the time I was six until now, my parents, a very humble family, very poor, I remember how my mom made bread to support the family. I would sell it, I sold oranges, I sold soft drinks, I sold candy. My mom, she was a hard worker, she worked a lot. We grew corn, beans. I took care of my grandmother's cattle and chopped wood.

    And how did you get involved in the drug business?
    Well, from the time I was 15 and after, where I come from, which is the municipality of Badiraguato, I was raised in a ranch named La Tuna, in that area, and up until today, there are no job opportunities. The only way to have money to buy food, to survive, is to grow poppy, marijuana, and at that age, I began to grow it, to cultivate it and to sell it. That is what I can tell you.

    How did you leave there? How did it all expand?

    From there, from my ranch, I started to leave at 18 and went to Culiacan, then after to Guadalajara, but never without visiting my ranch, even up until today, because my mom, thanks to God, is still alive, out there in our ranch, which is La Tuna, and so, that is how things have been.

    How has your family life changed from then to now?
    Very good – my children, my brothers, my nephews. We all get along well, very normal. Very good.

    And now that you are free, how has it affected you?

    Well, as for being free – happy, because freedom is really nice, and pressure, well, for me it's normal, because I've had to be careful for a few years now in certain cities, and, no, I don't feel anything that hurts my health or my mind. I feel good.

    Is it true what they say that drugs destroy humanity and bring harm?

    Well, it's a reality that drugs destroy. Unfortunately, as I said, where I grew up there was no other way and there still isn't a way to survive, no way to work in our economy to be able to make a living.

    Do you think it is true you are responsible for the high level of drug addiction in the world?
    No, that is false, because the day I don't exist, it's not going to decrease in any way at all. Drug trafficking? That's false.

    Did your drug business grow and expand when you were in jail?

    From what I can tell, and what I know, everything is the same. Nothing has decreased. Nothing has increased.

    What about the violence attached to this type of activity?

    In part, it is because already some people already grow up with problems, and there is some envy and they have information against someone else. That is what creates violence.

    Do you consider yourself a violent person?
    No, sir.

    Are you prone to violence, or do you use it as a last resort?
    Look, all I do is defend myself, nothing more. But do I start trouble? Never.

    What is your opinion about the situation in Mexico, what is the outlook for Mexico?
    Well, drug trafficking is already part of a culture that originated from the ancestors. And not only in Mexico. This is worldwide.

    Do you consider your activity, your organization, a cartel?
    No, sir, not at all. Because people who dedicate their lives to this activity do not depend on me.

    How has this business evolved from the time you started up until today?

    Big difference. Today there are lots of drugs, and back then, the only ones we knew were marijuana and poppy.

    What is the difference in people now compared to back then?
    Big difference, because now, day after day, villages are getting bigger, and there's more of us, and lots of different ways of thinking.

    What is the outlook for the business? Do you think it will disappear? Will it grow instead?
    No, it will not end because as time goes by, we are more people, and this will never end.

    Do you think terrorism activities in the Middle East will, in any way, impact the future of drug trafficking?
    No, sir. It doesn't make a difference at all.

    You saw how the final days of Escobar were. How do you see your final days with respect to this business?
    I know one day I will die. I hope it's of natural causes.

    The U.S. government thinks that the Mexican government does not want to arrest you. What they want to do is to kill you. What do you think?

    No, I think that if they find me, they'll arrest me, of course.

    With respect to your activities, what do you think the impact on Mexico is? Do you think there is a substantial impact?
    Not at all. Not at all.

    Because drug trafficking does not depend on just one person. It depends on a lot of people.

    What is your opinion about who is to blame here, those who sell drugs, or the people who use drugs and create a demand for them? What is the relationship between production, sale and consumption?

    If there was no consumption, there would be no sales. It is true that consumption, day after day, becomes bigger and bigger. So it sells and sells.

    We hear avocado is good for you, lime is good for you, guanabana is good for you. But we never hear anyone doing any publicity with respect to drugs. Have you done anything to induce the public to consume more drugs?
    Not at all. That attracts attention. People, in a way, want to know how it feels or how it tastes. And then the addiction gets bigger.

    Do you have any dreams? Do you dream?

    Whatever is normal. But dreaming daily? No.

    But you must have some dreams, some hopes for your life?

    I want to live with my family the days God gives me.

    If you could change the world, would you?

    For me, the way things are, I'm happy.

    How is your relationship with your mom?
    My relationship? Perfect. Very well.

    Is it one of respect?

    Yes, sir, respect, affection and love.

    How do you see the future for your sons and daughters?
    Very well. They get along right. The family is tight.

    How about your life? How has your life changed, how have you lived it since you escaped?
    Lots of happiness – because of my freedom.

    Did you ever use drugs?

    No, sir. Many years ago, yes, I did try them. But an addict? No.

    How long ago?

    I haven't done any drugs in the last 20 years.

    Did it not worry you that you might be putting your family at risk with your escape?

    Yes, sir.

    For your recent escape, did you pursue your freedom at any cost, at the expense of anybody?
    I never thought of hurting anyone. All I did was ask God, and things worked out. Everything was perfect. I am here, thank God.

    The two times you escaped, it is worth mentioning, there was no violence.
    With me, it did not come to that. In other situations, what's been seen, things occur differently, but here, we did not use any violence.

    Bearing in mind what has been written about you, what one can see on TV, things are said about you in Mexico, what kind of message would you like to convey to the people of Mexico?

    Well, I can say it's normal that people have mixed feelings because some people know me and others don't. That is the reason I say it is normal. Because those who do not know me can have their doubts about saying if, in this case, I'm a good person or not.

    If I ask you to define yourself as a person, if I ask you to pretend you are not Joaquín, instead you are the person who knows him better than anybody else in the world, how would you define yourself?

    Well, if I knew him – with respect, and from my point of view, it's a person who's not looking for problems in any way. In any way.

    January 10, 2016
    DD | Rolling Stone Magazine | Borderland Beat
  2. Beenthere2Hippie
    Penn Farts His Way Across Mexico

    [IMGR=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=47958&stc=1&d=1452559199[/IMGR]Those who spent copious amounts of time reading through Sean Penn’s 10,000-word-plus Rolling Stone piece that contains an interview with Mexican then-fugitive drug lord “El Chapo” (Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera) needn’t have. Of those words, there are about 1,500 that are worth reading.

    If that. The actual interview that Penn secured with El Chapo did yield one marquee comment: “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.” That’s a compelling comment to secure on the record. Good thing, because such moments are infrequent in this bloated tract. Take this response to a question from Penn:

    What is the difference in people now compared to back then?
    Big difference, because now, day after day, villages are getting bigger, and there’s more of us, and lots of different ways of thinking.​

    There are many such moments in this venture, which is newsworthy for a few reasons: 1) Timing — El Chapo, who has run a massive, international drug empire, was re-captured by Mexican authorities last week after a prison escape last summer; 2) Celebrity — Sean Penn is Sean Penn; and 3) Journalism ethics — Rolling Stone and Penn have come under fire for agreeing to a pre-approval arrangement with El Chapo. To the magazine’s credit, it’s right there at the top of the story:

    Disclosure: Some names have had
 to be changed, locations not named, and an understanding was brokered with the subject that this piece would be submitted for the subject’s approval before publication. The subject did not ask for any changes.​

    Perhaps the subject fell asleep before he could suggest any. Surely the approval agreement places the Penn piece outside the boundaries of journalism and closer to a jungle-hopping adventure in PR. It should come as no surprise, given the “disclosure,” that subsequent paragraphs deal with the work of El Chapo in the most enthralled terms. Charismatic guy? Check. Smiles a lot? Check. Powerful? Oh, so, so powerful! In an interview with the New York Times, Rolling Stone Managing Editor Jason Fine said that if El Chapo had wanted any changes, then the magazine could have killed the story.

    Yeah, right. Rolling Stone, via Penn, secured a meeting with El Chapo, a coup that is believed to have marked his only interview in decades. In so doing, Penn surely drained a great deal of Rolling Stone resources, including travel, arrangements to keep the planning secret and the time of top officials at the magazine. It was never going to not publish this piece.

    And so it submitted something to El Chapo to which he couldn’t possibly object. The kingpin’s hands-off response allowed Rolling Stone to come away looking as if he didn’t take seriously the agreement. Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner told the Times that El Chapo didn’t have much interest in taking a red pen to Penn’s words. Clearly, Rolling Stone didn’t either. “I don’t think it was a meaningful thing in the first place,” Wenner told the Times of the arrangement with El Chapo. “We have let people in the past approve their quotes in interviews….”

    For all the finger-wagging, the journalistic malpractice here is nothing compared to big screw-ups of the past year or so, like when Rolling Stone magazine all but ginned up a story about a gang rape at the University of Virginia. That ended in a retraction and dashed reputations.

    All journalistic misadventures tell us something about the perps. In this case, it’s that Rolling Stone’s editors lack the courage to tell a Hollywood A-Lister that his prose is self-indulgent and nonsensical. How else to explain why Rolling Stone allowed Penn to riff in the most impenetrable of ways about how El Chapo planned to send flowers to actress Kate Del Castillo, a key player in arranging Penn’s interview? “She nervously offered her address, but with the gypsy movements of an actress, the flowers did not find her,” writes Penn. Veto power in hand, how did El Chapo let that one get past him?

    In deference to El Chapo, he was handed one heck of an editing chore:


    By Eric Wemple - The Washington Post/Jan. 11, 2016
    Newshawk Crew
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