MEXICO CITY – Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán called actress Kate del Castillo “beautiful,” while she confessed her “dream” of meeting him in leaked text messages filled with warm exchanges.
The chats, published by the newspaper Milenio on Wednesday, took place before and after Guzmán, Del Castillo and U.S. actor Sean Penn sat down for a now notorious meeting in the Mexican jungle in October.
The messages provide a new window into the mysterious relationship between the then-fugitive and Del Castillo, who brokered the get-together between Guzmán and Penn.
In the messages intercepted by Mexican authorities, the pair discuss meeting over tequila and champagne, with Guzmán promising to “take care of you more than my own eyes” while the Mexican-American actress expresses her “eagerness to see you eye-to-eye.”
“I’ll take care of you. You’ll see when you come,” Guzmán, who went by the name “Papá” in the messages, wrote on Sept. 26, just over two months after his escape from a maximum-security prison.
“You’re so beautiful, my friend, in every aspect,” he told Del Castillo, famous for her role as a drug boss in the TV show “La Reina del Sur” (“The Queen of the South”).
Del Castillo, using the name “Beauty,” answered: “I must confess that I feel protected for the first time. You’ll know my story when we have time to speak, but for some reason I feel safe and I know you know who I am, not as an actress or public figure, but as a woman, as a person.”
The actress, who has her own tequila brand, added: “I’ll bring my tequila to share it with you, because it is a dream that I wanted to fulfill.”
Smitten drug lord
Penn, who wrote about the Oct. 2 meeting with Guzmán in a Rolling Stone article published on Saturday, said the kingpin wanted Del Castillo to help him make a biopic about himself.
On Oct. 10, after they met, the actress wrote: “I don’t sleep much since I saw you. I’m very excited about our story. … It’s all I think about.”
Guzmán replied: “I’m more excited about you than the story.”
He wrote her again on Oct. 23 to wish her happy birthday when she turned 43.
“What a nice birthday gift! Thank you! We will hug very soon,” she wrote.
Two government officials told AFP that the text messages leaked to Milenio were authentic.
Officials said Tuesday that Guzmán’s “almost obsessive” desire to see Del Castillo again contributed to his recapture last Friday in Los Mochis, a seaside city in his northwestern home state of Sinaloa.
Guzmán left his mountain hideout because troops were circling him, but his hope of seeing her again also led him to the city, the officials said on condition of anonymity. After six months on the lam, Guzmán is back in the same prison he escaped from on July 11.
Who’s Sean Penn?
The Mexican government said authorities were investigating the “actions” surrounding the October meeting, not the people directly. But legal experts doubt that the actors could face charges, unless they accepted money from illegal proceeds from Guzmán to make a film.
Samuel González, a former federal prosecutor, said the actors would be protected because Penn presented the meeting as journalistic work. Del Castillo’s U.S. attorney did not respond to phone messages seeking comment.
While Guzmán agreed to meet with Penn, the world’s most infamous criminal did not seem to know much about the Oscar-winning Hollywood actor.
In messages between Guzmán and his attorney, who facilitated the phone exchanges with Del Castillo, the lawyer told the drug lord about the 2003 film “21 Grams.”
The kingpin asked his attorney to repeat the actor’s name twice and the title of Penn’s most recent movie.
“I see Sean Penn on the internet here,” wrote “Papá.”