Mexican drug lord Guzman's infatuation with actress led to downfall: Official

Kate del Castillo arriving for the Centerpiece Gala Premiere of Alcon Entertainment's The 33 during AFI Fest 2015.
Kate del Castillo arriving for the Centerpiece Gala Premiere of Alcon Entertainment's The 33 during AFI Fest 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

MEXICO CITY (AFP) - Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was apparently infatuated with actress Kate del Castillo and his desire to see her again contributed to his downfall, government officials said on Tuesday (Jan 12).

Del Castillo, a Mexican-American actress, brokered the notorious meeting between Guzman and US actor Sean Penn at an undisclosed jungle clearing in October, three months before the fugitive's capture.

Following that meeting, which Mexican authorities had known about, troops entered Guzman's remote mountain stronghold in north-western Mexico in order to "spit him out towards a city," a government official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Guzman eventually made his way last week to the seaside city of Los Mochis in his native Sinaloa state, where he was captured in a deadly military operation on Friday.

The other factor that led Guzman to Los Mochis was that he was "really very interested in meeting the actress again", the official said.

"This was an almost obsessive interest that turned into another incentive to go down to the city, where he wanted to meet with her," the official said, adding that Guzman did not see the 43-year-old actress again.

Another official said that Guzman, 58, used the codename "hermosa" (beautiful in Spanish) when referring to the actress, who became famous for her role as a drug lord in the TV series The Queen Of The South.

DVDs of the show were found in the house that marines raided in Los Mochis.

Guzman fled the house through a tunnel during a gunfight between troops and his henchmen, but he was caught later after he had stolen a car.

Penn, in an article published by Rolling Stone magazine on Saturday, said del Castillo had been in contact with Guzman and arranged the meeting.

The drug lord wanted to make a film about himself but "would entrust its telling only to Kate", Penn wrote.