An extremely weird story played out over the weekend, which led to the arrest of one of the most-wanted people in the world: Mexican cartel leader Joaquín Guzmán, aka “El Chapo.” His arrest at a Mexican hideout came shortly after Rolling Stone magazine published a long, first-person essay by actor Sean Penn about his covert interview with the drug lord. According to the story, Penn took extreme measures to not get the attention of authorities when he met with El Chapo for an hours-long conversation. In the interview, the drug lord explains how he went from a childhood of poverty, to becoming one of the most notorious criminals in the world: “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.” Guzman recently escaped from prison in Mexico. Penn reportedly worked with Mexican actress Kate del Castillo to arrange and conduct the interview.
Though it’s not yet clear how, Mexican authorities have indicated that the article helped lead them to El Chapo’s hideout, where he was apprehended after his security exchanged fire with Marines. Five of the suspects were killed in the firefight. Penn’s interview was immediately controversial, drawing questions and concerns from officials in both Mexico and the United States. The White House Chief of Staff told reporters, the situation “poses a lot of interesting questions for him and others involved in this so-called interview. We’ll see what happens.” Authorities are currently attempting to have El Chapo extradited to the U.S.