Penn, who is now under investigation for orchestrating the interview while his subject was a fugitive from justice, met with El Chapo in the Mexican jungle in October.
Penn's translator on the trip was Mexican soap star Kate del Castillo, who had tweeted that El Chapo should use his power to help others. Del Castillo is also under investigation by Mexican officials for her part in the secret meeting.
Penn and del Castillo met with El Chapo, who answered Penn's questions via video. Watch!
Penn writes in the Rolling Stone article, "As an American citizen, I'm drawn to explore what may be inconsistent with the portrayals our government and media brand upon their declared enemies. Not since Osama bin Laden has the pursuit of a fugitive so occupied the public imagination. But unlike bin Laden, who had posed the ludicrous premise that a country's entire population is defined by — and therefore complicit in — its leadership's policies, with the world's most wanted drug lord, are we, the American public, not indeed complicit in what we demonize? We are the consumers, and as such, we are complicit in every murder, and in every corruption of an institution's ability to protect the quality of life for citizens of Mexico and the United States that comes as a result of our insatiable appetite for illicit narcotics."
The AP notes that Penn's interview helped lead Mexican police to El Chapo, who was captured on Friday and is awaiting probable extradition to the U.S. to face a slew of drug and other charges. El Chapo had escaped from prison six months ago via an elaborate, mile-long tunnel dug under his maximum-security cell.
[Credit: Alberto E. Rodriquez/Getty Images]
Penn isn't exactly hiding from authorities; Daily Mail reports that he appeared on the arm of his ex-wife, Madonna, Saturday evening at the annual benefit for his Help Haiti Home charity. Madonna told the crowd, "I had the privilege of going to Haiti with Sean two years ago with my son Rocco and we had such an amazing adventure." She is in the midst of a custody battle over Rocco with her other ex-husband, Guy Ritchie, but showed no signs of stress as she performed the French classic "La Vie en Rose," accompanying herself on the ukulele.
Madonna said in her speech at the benefit that Penn is "a bad-ass," but told him from the stage, "I wanna say, Sean, that I love you from the moment that I laid eyes on you. And I still love you, just the same. I just wish you would stop smoking so many cigarettes."
Madonna, Penn, and her children David, 10, and Mercy, 9 (making her red-carpet debut), appeared on the red carpet at the benefit.