The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App

​The bizarre capture of El Chapo

There's a new development in the arrest of escaped Mexican drug lord "El Chapo." Rolling Stone last night released a story written by actor Sean Penn, who interviewed him months ago at the escapee's Mexican hideout. The magazine held it until now. Our Ben Tracy takes a closer look:

In the video interview, the world's most notorious drug lord says he's not responsible for the world's drug problem. What's more remarkable is that he's answering a question sent to him by actor Sean Penn.

el-chapo-interview-rolling-stone-620.jpg
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, from his video interview published by Rolling Stone magazine.
Kate del Castillo/Rolling Stone

The exclusive interview in Rolling Stone magazine is just the latest strange twist in the saga of Joaquin Guzman, known as El Chapo (or "shorty" in Spanish). He heads the mighty Sinaloa drug cartel, controlling nearly half of the illegal drug trade between Mexico and the United States.

He's believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 34,000 people.

"Look... all I do is defend myself. Nothing more. But do I start looking for trouble? Never."

Mexican authorities say the secret interview with Sean Penn in part led to El Chapo's capture on Friday. Penn met with the fugitive cartel leader early this past fall on a mountaintop in Mexico. He later submitted questions to him via text.

Among the revelations: El Chapo says he got into the drug trade to provide for his family; that he hasn't used drugs for 20 years; and says he doesn't go looking for trouble but simply defends himself.


On Friday morning trouble came to him in the form of Mexican marines who descended on the town of Los Mochis. They stormed a white house, and found some of El Chapo's men plus a stash of weapons, including a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

El Chapo escaped into the sewer system, but was later captured and brought to a hotel. He was wearing a dirty undershirt and appeared to be unharmed. But a firefight with the drug kingpin's bodyguards left five of them dead.

El Chapo had escaped Mexican prisons not once, but twice. So on Friday night the Mexican government made a very public show of his capture, parading him across the tarmac and onto a waiting helicopter.

Six months ago surveillance video showed El Chapo in his prison cell, walking into his shower stall. That's where he disappeared down a mile-long tunnel and hopped on a retrofitted motorcycle.

The Rolling Stone interview claims that El Chapo had engineers flown to Germany for training on how to make his elaborate escape possible.

Last year "60 Minutes" reported on the so-called tunnel king and the ingenious places he has built his drug tunnels and escape routes.


Sean Penn says El Chapo was inundated with offers from Hollywood, but ultimately entrusted Mexican actress Kate del Castillo to make a film about his life.

And while he won't be heading to Hollywood, El Chapo could very likely be extradited to the United States, where he is wanted on drug charges in six states.

"El Chapo has said in the past that his worst fear is being extradited to the United States," said Andrew Selee, an expert on Mexico at the Wilson Center in Washington.

"I think there is going to be a lot of pressure in Mexico to extradite him to the United States, to make sure he can't escape again. I think Mexican officials are going to be very interested in looking at that option."

But for now, that helicopter El Chapo got on Friday night took him back to the very same prison from which he escaped.


For more info: