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Sean Penn Led Authorities To El Chapo

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter

A former senior U.S. official told “60 Minutes” Sean Penn was an “unwitting participant” in the capture of Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera.

Sean Penn was in Mexico in October 2015 with the Mexican actress Kate del Castillo to interview the infamous drug lord for Rolling Stone. Peter Vincent, former senior counselor for International Policy with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told “60 Minutes” Mexican authorities had been tracking El Chapo’s movements for quite some time because of his communication with del Castillo.

By keeping tabs on Tweets and “direct communications with his [El Chapo’s] lieutenants,” Mexican authorities found the notorious drug kingpin. Vincent is convinced that ultimately it was direct communications between del Castillo and El Chapo that facilitated the capture of the cartel chief.

The fact that El Chapo decided to engage in such open and risky communication with del Castillo comes as a result of the cartel leader having become “drunk on his own wine” after his brazen escape from jail in July 2015, according to Vincent. Ultimately El Chapo “became so incredibly arrogant, that he thought he was untouchable.”

El Chapo’s January 2016 capture was surprising to Jim Dinkins, the former chief of Homeland Security investigations. He told “60 Minutes” El Chapo “knew how he was captured last time [in 2014].” Dinkins goes on to say the head of the Sinaloa Cartel “had the upper hand… But he just couldn’t help himself. And he remained in the public eye.”

Dinkins confirmed Vincent’s comments that Mexican authorities were aware of Penn going to see El Chapo with del Castillo. A disregard for previous precautions is what led to El Chapo being captured, since Dinkin stated, “There was more sightings of him [El Chapo] in the last six months than there was in the first– last 10 years of before he was captured in 2014.”

Not long after El Chapo’s conversation with Penn, Mexican Marines tracked down the crime boss. There was a delay in the decision to go after El Chapo since authorities did not want Penn to be present.

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