Mexican Actress Stars As Go-Between In Chapo-Penn Chat

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Mexican Actress Stars As Go-Between In Chapo-Penn Chat

File Photo of Mexican actress Kate del Castillo is starring in a real-life drama as the go-between for Sean Penn and crime kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. (Agence France-Presse)

Mexico City, Mexico:  Known as a drug cartel "queen" in a telenovela, Mexican actress Kate del Castillo is now starring in a real-life drama as the go-between for Sean Penn and crime kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

The 43-year-old actress, who starred in the 2011 show "La Reina del Sur" ("The Queen of the South"), had a relatively scandal-free career until she directed tweets at Guzman in February 2012.

In one tweet, written while Guzman was on the lam a decade after his first prison break, del Castillo said she "believes more in Chapo Guzman than the governments that hide the truth from me even though it might be painful."

She also pleads with Guzman to get out of the drug business.

In an interview with Televisa that same year, the daughter of famous telenova actor Eric del Castillo said she had been misunderstood, insisting that her messages were "totally ironic, sarcasm."

The dark-haired actress said Guzman never responded and that she did not know him.

First contact

But in his bombshell article for Rolling Stone on Saturday, Penn wrote that a lawyer for Guzman contacted her after reading her statement on Twitter.

"He said El Senor wanted to send her flowers in gratitude. She nervously offered her address, but with the gypsy movements of an actress, the flowers did not find her," Penn wrote.

After Guzman's second capture in February 2014, the same lawyer found her again and the actress and drug lord began to correspond in handwritten letters and text messages, the Oscar-winning actor said.

While in prison, Guzman wanted a film made about his life "but would entrust its telling only to Kate," Penn wrote.

Penn, who wanted to write a magazine article about the imprisoned kingpin, met Del Castillo, who passed the message to Guzman. The drug lord agreed to meet them.

The now notorious meeting between Penn, Del Castillo and Guzman finally took place on October 2.

When they arrive at the rendezvous in a jungle clearing, Guzman opens Del Castillo's car door "and greets her like a daughter returning from college," Penn wrote.

In a video recording that Guzman made after the face-to-face meeting, the drug lord said the content was an "exclusive for senorita Kate del Castillo and senor Sean Penn."

"The Queen of the South mediated the interview with El Chapo. I would not expect less from her," Arturo Perez-Reverte, the Spanish author of the book that inspired the TV series, wrote on Twitter.

Authorities want interview

Attorney General Arely Gomez said Friday that Guzman had contacted "actresses and producers," whom she did not name, in a bid to make a biopic.

The Mexican attorney general's office now wants to question Del Castillo and Penn about the meeting, a federal official told AFP.

While the actors strived to keep the meeting secret, officials said they found out about it and it helped investigators track down Guzman, who was nearly captured days after the interview.

Guzman was eventually caught on Friday in the seaside city of Los Mochis, Sinaloa state, after a deadly military raid.

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