El Chapo's Crush

I'm busy with other things today and tomorrow, so will just make a short post on El Chapo. I'll also fill in the missing source links in this post tonight.

On El Chapo, I wondered as soon as the Sean Penn connection was revealed whether El Chapo was motivated by a crush on Kate del Castillo. Penn intimated as such in his Rolling Stone article.

... maybe he watched her on TV and developed a crush on her. (Penn seems to intimate infatuation may have been the cause.)

The text messages between El Chapo and Kate published by Milennio also suggest he was infatuated with her. But another piece has now been disclosed in Mexican papers: During the search of the room he occupied at the raided house (the one with the secret switch that opened the way to the tunnel), police found 4 videos of various episodes of La Reina del Sur.


I think La Reina del Sur was Castillo's best role. I wrote two years ago she was a powerful role model for women in that role.

Teresa Mendoza in the fictional La Reina del Sur is one of the strongest female character roles ever. Next Sunday she may get competition when Mun2-TV begins airing La Teniente, an action Teleseries about a young woman named Roberta who is the first woman to serve in combat in an elite anti-terrorim unit of the Mexican Marines. She turns out, of course, not to be just young and beautiful, but the toughest and smartest Marine in the group, and she overcomes all the male hostility, gaining everyone's respect. Like Teresa Mendoza, she breaks the "glass ceiling" and should serve as a powerful role model. (If you are thinking a top female drug trafficker can't serve as a role model, watch the series and see if you don't change your mind.)

As Teresa, del Castillo was confident, in charge, not afraid to take anyone on, yet fiercely loyal and protective to those around her. She loved who she wanted when she wanted. She built and ran a multi-million international company with high rise offices and a lot of employees (of course, the foundation of the company and its purpose was to ship drugs, but still, it was a successful business.) She took on the Russian mob and became a partner. Given her brains and her beauty as Teresa Mendoza, why wouldn't El Chapo fall in love with her from the videos? She was his counterpart, only better. His undoing may have been that he confused her television character with the Kate of real life.

It's not hard to do. Although I have only seen a portion of del Castillo's overall work, in the shows I have seen, her roles have similar features: she starts off as weak and/or abused by life, and then gradually gains strength and self-confidence, until she captures her world, and the world of those out to destroy her. She's not only a great strategist in every role, but a loyal leader of her troops with a big heart. What's not to love?

On a related note, I do wonder if El Chapo actually texted those messages. Anabel Hernandez author of Narcoland,told Telesur TV, "El Chapo Guzman can barely read and write. El Chapo Guzman hasn’t even finished elementary school, he can't even write a letter."

In the excellent New Yorker article from 2014, The Hunt for El Chapo, Patrick Radden Keefe wrote:

If you needed to communicate with the boss, you could reach him via B.B.M., BlackBerry’s instant-messaging application. (Guzmán had apparently learned to read and write well enough to communicate in the shorthand of instant messages.) Your message would go not directly to Guzmán, however, but to a trusted lieutenant, who spent his days in Starbucks coffee shops and other locations with public wireless networks. Upon receiving the message, the lieutenant would transcribe it onto an iPad, so that he could forward the text using WiFi—avoiding the cellular networks that the cartel knew the authorities were trolling. The transcribed message would be sent not to Guzmán but to a second intermediary, who, also using a tablet and public WiFi, would transcribe the words onto his BlackBerry and relay them to Guzmán.

Although Guzmán continued to use a BlackBerry, it was almost impossible to track, because it communicated with only one other device. When he received your message, his reply would be relayed back to you through the same indirect means. Many members of the cartel did not realize that when they wrote to the boss and received an answer, every word had been transmitted via two intermediaries. This is sometimes described as a “mirror” system, and it is fiendishly difficult for authorities to penetrate (especially when the transcribers keep moving from one WiFi hot spot to another).

I read a long time ago that two of his lawyers, Óscar Manuel Gómez Núñez and Andrés Granados Flores, were arrested shortly after El Chapo's Altiplano escape. Andrés Granados Flores, is the one who communicated the most with Kate del Castillo.

On Saturday, he gave his official statement to prosecutors. This is his second statement, the first having been given shortly after the July, 2015 prison escape:

On July 13, two days after the escape, Granados was detained by the Agency of Criminal investigation (AIC) of the PGR in Xochimilco, Mexico City; at the same time, also was taken to declare the SEIDO one of his brothers that is agent of the Federal Police. The litigant was left in freedom the next day and the testimonies it rendered to the authority until today are unknown.

Óscar Manuel Gómez Núñez, his chief lawyer who authorities say was at the top in terms of culpability for his active involvement and coordination of others, was arrested about a month earlier with 9 cell phones. Authorities got an order to download the information from the phone:

Gomez Nuñez was arrested in late October in the city of Mexico, accused of having participated in the escape. But nearly a month earlier, the lawyer had been detained by ministerial officials, who took him to testify to the Special Attorney in the organized crime offences. The problem of that statement, admitted a federal source, is that the officers proceeded without an order of presentation or apprehension. "We had him to let go," added the source, "because you have incorporated his statement in the record, to have violated the law, the case would have fallen". However, while declared Gomez Nuñez was requested an order the judge so that they could extract the information carrying on nine phones carrying at the time that he was illegally detained. The judge gave the order.

Gomez Nunez was arrested again on October 21, 2015 and charged in Case no. 58/2015.

Reportedly, Granados Flores' phone calls had been intercepted, including a call that police say helped them find El Chapo. He was released again after making his statement this weekend.

Since cell phone service in the mountains is poor to non-existent, I wonder if for this latest arrest, the police just analyzed the phones seized from the lawyers in touch with Kate rather than relying on actual intercepted phone calls and texts. The phone El Chapo used to text with Kate was provided by one of his lawyers.

While it was Oscar Nunez who received the first request from El Chapo to meet Kate del Castillo (shortly before he escaped from Altiplano), it was Granados that had the most contact with Kate and was present for the meeting between El Chapo, Kate and Sean Penn. Kate del Castillo met with both lawyers in Mexico on September 25, 2015, just about a week before her and Penn's October 2 trip to meet El Chapo.

I still have questions. One is why they were looking for a "pro bono" lawyer to represent El Chapo. Was it because they knew the OFAC restrictions prevented lawyers from accepting money from El Chapo without first applying a license to do so?

The rest will have to wait for another day, as will proof-reading this post. I'm out of time right now.

< Selzer Poll: Iowa Tight | Thursday Afternoon Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Two words, Benjamin: "Traffic Analysis" (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 15, 2016 at 12:03:17 AM EST
    Although Guzmán continued to use a BlackBerry, it was almost impossible to track, because it communicated with only one other device.

    A blackberry that communicated with only one other device would stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.  How would one find such devices?  Using a domain specific, telecommunications transaction streams metadata mining language like Hancock.

    What would also be easy to find with a tool like Hancock?  Phones that had been used only once - the "Burner" phones.  Another useful dataset?  The set of cellphones geolocated within a small radius of each of those burner phones during its single use.  This metadata exists or can be created.  Did Penn always leave his personal phone far behind when he was playing Spy Kids with the burner phones?  Did del Castillo?  Espinoza?  El Alto?

    Awareness of Hancock bubbled to the surface several years ago during the height of the unhappy muttering about unconstitutional surveillance, mostly because Hancock is a ridiculously ironic name for a tool used to facilitate the unconstitutional.

    BTW, as evidence that Mexican police agencies aren't quite the clueless corrupted keystone cops of stereotype, I submit the following snippet from a der Spiegel piece on Snowden's revelations:

    But even this highest level of security would seem not to be immune to NSA access, at least according to a presentation titled, "Your target is using a BlackBerry? Now what?" The presentation notes that the acquisition of encrypted BES communications requires a "sustained" operation by the NSA's Tailored Access Operation department in order to "fully prosecute your target." An email from a Mexican government agency, which appears in the presentation under the title "BES collection," reveals that this is applied successfully in practice.

    Who cares? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2016 at 08:07:54 PM EST

    It's like wondering who Ted Bundy crushed on.

    If your are not interested (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 14, 2016 at 09:17:22 PM EST
    in the topic of any post on TalkLeft, don't bother to tell us, just scroll on by.

    Obviously, I'm interested in the topic or I wouldn't spend the time researching and writing about it.

    Future such comments will be deleted, including replies to this response. Your lack of interest is not up for discussion.


    It's scary to me how interested (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 15, 2016 at 11:20:10 AM EST
    You are in this topic. It's like worshipping evil.

    I'm interested (none / 0) (#4)
    by Green26 on Thu Jan 14, 2016 at 11:04:01 PM EST
    Topics like this, which I know nothing about, are one of the many reasons I like this site. In a minute or so, a significant amount can be learned, and then there are links to find more if more is wanted. It expands my apparently not so expansive horizons.

    I also don't understand why anyone, especially a regular, would be rude to our host, who puts in a huge amount of time, effort and money into the site.


    I've probably donated close to a grand... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Dadler on Fri Jan 15, 2016 at 09:16:55 AM EST
    ...to this site. Money ain't what matters here, trust me. Not for Jeralyn, not for any of the regulars who have been here for a decade plus. Life ain't that pretty, no matter the website, no matter the frail human qualities of all of us. We can handle being testy, or passionate, or even, gasp, rude, every once in awhile. Jeralyn has been rude to me before. I told her she was full of i was completely full of sh*t, and, still, here we are. Freedom is ugly and sloppy, not polite. Ever.

    Good research (none / 0) (#5)
    by ragebot on Thu Jan 14, 2016 at 11:11:00 PM EST
    I was not aware lawyers had to get approval to represent El Chapo.

    I had posted a link in a previous thread about one lawyer representing El Chapo with this blurb claiming Sean Penn lied about his interview.

    ""Its a lie, absurd speculation from Mr Penn," Juan Pablo Badillo, one of a team of Guzman lawyers, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday."

    Jerlyn please keep up the good work, I am very interested in this.

    The article went on to say Badillo had represented El Chapo since 1993 and had filed seven motions during and since El Chapo's last capture.  Badillo said all Mexicans deserved legal counsel but declined to say how much El Chapo was paying him and/or the firm or group of lawyers representing El Chapo.

    Of interest to your point is this blurb:

    "Mexican daily Milenio late on Tuesday published alleged private messages between del Castillo and Guzman. Badillo said he believed reports about them having a close relationship were "pure speculation.""

    We always learn something here. (none / 0) (#7)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 15, 2016 at 12:14:25 AM EST
    A biggy in this article was the beginning of an explanation at how lawyers can be paid at all by El Chapo.  They have to petition someone to bypass "OFAC restrictions."

    How can U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control restrictions affect private monetary transactions inside Mexico's borders?


    I wrote a long post on (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 15, 2016 at 01:07:52 AM EST
    OFAC licenses in 2010 here. OFAC's current  licensing page is  here. It has an extensive FAQ section. From my earlier post:

    Once a name goes on one of the lists, it is a federal crime to conduct any business on the listed person's behalf or take any money from the person or someone acting for them -- unless you  apply for and are granted a license to do so.

    ....This applies to lawyers who want to represent a listed person in or out of court. You can't provide legal services until you get a license. Once you get a license, in the usual case (where the lawyer wants to be paid), the funds are then unblocked and you can accept the money. Even then, you have to send Treasury an accounting every three months of all funds received for the life of the license (and if you didn't get any money during that quarter, you still have to send a letter or report saying so.)

    The application process is not onerous once you do it the first time. I also don't think OFAC is stingy with granting licenses. But it can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months for the application to be acted upon.

    ...Personally, I don't think any lawyer, including retained counsel, should have to ask the government's permission to represent a client. But, given that the process isn't onerous and OFAC is pretty reasonable about granting licenses and doesn't dictate what you can charge (at least when the listed person is a criminal defendant and representation is sought for that pending proceeding -- civil and administrative proceedings are different), I don't think a lot of lawyers have filed challenges to it. They just learn to live with it.

    This of course doesn't apply when the designated drug offender is indigent and applies for court-appointed counsel. Counsel is then paid by the government.


    Crush ? (none / 0) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 15, 2016 at 10:06:43 AM EST
    Without a doubt, but from the translated texts, it doesn't seem one sided.  Hard to tell if she was flirting because she wanted the meeting, but it seems more like she was genuinely interested in 'papa'.

    Aside from my intrinisc interest (none / 0) (#12)
    by ragebot on Fri Jan 15, 2016 at 12:02:37 PM EST
    I have to point out this issue is not close to closure.

    The link I posted seems to at least imply a difference of opinion between El Chapo's camp and the Sean/Kate camps.  I can see some real drama resulting from that.

    Extradition proceedings will be in the news for a year at least.

    Mexico has arrested scores of peeps implicated in El Chapo's latest escape and there may be more.

    El Chapo himself has correctly pointed out he can easily be replaced if jailed; and the cartels don't usually  peacefully change management.

    Maybe this is like folks who stop to look at a train wreck or dumpster fire but I have to say I will be paying attention.

    Penn interviewed by CBS (none / 0) (#13)
    by ragebot on Fri Jan 15, 2016 at 01:07:59 PM EST
    link here

    Penn claims to be an "experiential journalist" who wanted to start a conversation about the war on drugs and goes on to say the RS article failed to do this.

    his past journalist creds (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 15, 2016 at 04:05:08 PM EST
    according to the complaint for damages his lawyer filed in a recent defamation case

    As a journalist, Penn has written for Time, Interview, Rolling Stone, and The Nation. In 2004, Penn wrote a two-part feature in The San Francisco Chronicle after a second visit to war-tom Iraq. In 2005, he wrote a five-part feature in the same paper, reporting from Iran during the election leading up to the Ahmadinejad regime. Penn's landmark interviews with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Pre President Raul Castro were published in The Nation and The Buffington Post. And Penn's interview with President Castro was Castro's firstever interview with an international journalist.

    Back in the day (none / 0) (#15)
    by ragebot on Fri Jan 15, 2016 at 05:31:02 PM EST
    Hunter S. Thompson was the first person I recall being described as a gonzo journalist.  To some extent I think Penn is doing the same thing.

    There is an obvious split between the personally involved gonzo approach and the more conventional detached approach modern journalism schools at least pay lip service to.

    Thompson seems to have weathered well as a journalist.  I have no doubt Penn will do the same as an actor but I do have doubts that Penn will weather well as a journalist.


    Ouch!!! (none / 0) (#16)
    by TrevorBolder on Tue Jan 19, 2016 at 05:47:52 PM EST
    Mexico has opened a money laundering investigation into the actress who helped Hollywood star Sean Penn conduct an interview with drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, a senior official said in an interview published on Tuesday.

    Attorney General Arely Gomez said in the interview published by daily newspaper El Universal "there are indications" that actress Kate del Castillo may have used money from Guzman to help finance her tequila business.

    The longtime head of the Sinaloa cartel, Guzman was caught on Jan. 8 in the northwestern city of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, six months after his brazen escape from prison through a mile-long tunnel that led directly into his cell.

    if you are quoting from an article (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jan 19, 2016 at 07:39:34 PM EST
    you must use quotemarks and link to the source (in html format or at least using a tiny url)



    El Chapo's family tried to trademark his name (none / 0) (#18)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 29, 2016 at 10:23:21 PM EST
    for branded merchandise.

    The family of recaptured cartel kingpin Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán tried to trademark his name for the purposes of producing merchandise including clothing, watches, walking canes and even Christmas tree ornaments.  According to applications lodged with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), 12 requests were made to register names applied to hats, toys, sporting goods, saddlery and whips. It also asked for trademarks in services such as publicity and "commercial administration".

    In 2012, Pablo Escobar's son launched a line of clothing in 2012 using his father's image, although the Colombian government rejected an attempt by the kingpin's family to trademark his full name.

    Test (none / 0) (#20)
    by smott on Mon Feb 08, 2016 at 05:25:41 PM EST

    Txt 2 (none / 0) (#22)
    by smott on Mon Feb 08, 2016 at 05:27:33 PM EST
    Nope, sorry (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 08, 2016 at 05:30:00 PM EST
    Are you hitting the little "chain link" button, and then pasting the link in there?