'El Chapo' set to be extradited to U.S., had interview with Sean Penn

Story highlights

  • The kingpin bragged about his drug trade in a magazine interview while on the run last year
  • El Chapo's "intention to film a biopic" became "important" lead in manhunt, official says
  • Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is now back in the same prison from which he escaped

(CNN)Mexico plans to extradite prison escapee Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the United States, where he faces drug trafficking charges connected to his cartel, authorities said.

"Since Guzman Loera has been recaptured, the beginning of the extradition proceedings should begin," the Mexican attorney general's office said in statement.
    Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez noted how the U.S. government sought Guzman's extradition as early as June 16, before he escaped for a second time from a Mexican prison in July.
    While on the run for the past six months, the notorious outlaw was not entirely living as a hermit.
    In an interview conducted for Rolling Stone magazine three months after he escaped from prison, he touted his drug trade, saying he "supplies more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world."
    He spent hours talking to actor Sean Penn, who interviewed him for the magazine during a secret meeting in the Mexican jungle. He answered followup questions several weeks later while still on the run, the magazine said.
    Guzman received the followup questions through an intermediary and answered them in a videotape he sent to Penn.
    The article posted online Saturday includes a blunt admission about his intricate dealings in the cartel world.
    "I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats," Guzman told Penn.

    Contact with filmmakers

    When he was not bragging about his drug trade during his time on the run, the kingpin was trying to make a movie deal.
    Police and the military successfully hunted down Guzman and his henchmen this week partly because he or his representatives contacted filmmakers about making an El Chapo biopic, Attorney General Gomez said.
    "Another important aspect that allowed us to pinpoint his location was having discovered Guzman Loera's intention to film a biographical movie through establishing communication with actors and producers, which formed a new line of investigation," Gomez said.
    Hollywood will likely make a movie or even a series about El Chapo, as it has about other drug lords, such as Colombia's Pablo Escobar in "Narcos."
    But for now, Guzman won't have a direct hand in any.
    His efforts to develop a biopic ends in a scene with an interesting twist: After six months on the lam, Guzman is now back in the same maximum security prison from which he escaped, according to a Mexican law enforcement official with knowledge of the case.
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    Surveillance helps in recapture

    The tracking of communications including cell phones and electronic exchanges involving people close to Guzman was critical in his recapture, according to two U.S. law enforcement officials.
    "It was the same apparatus that caught him last time, staying tight on the people around him," one of the officials said.
    The United States shared intelligence with Mexican authorities, but the actual operation was all done by the Mexicans, the U.S. officials said.
    In July, Guzman used an elaborate underground tunnel to break out of a Mexican federal prison.
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    But he was recaptured Friday after the Mexican navy raided a home in the coastal city of Los Mochis in his native state of Sinaloa, where he enjoyed protection from his gunmen and many local residents who revered him as a modern Robin Hood.
    Guzman's prison escape -- his second in 14 years -- embarrassed the Mexican government and became a symbol of its corruption.
    Now that Guzman is back inside the Altiplano maximum security prison in central Mexico, officials aren't disclosing where exactly he is being held inside the facility.

    Chase through sewer tunnels

    The home where he was recaptured Friday had been under surveillance for a month, the attorney general said.
    Guzman arrived at the house Thursday, and authorities raided it in the wee hours of Friday.
    When the Mexican navy arrived, they encountered gunfire from inside, according to Gomez. The navy said five suspects died and six others were arrested. One navy personnel was injured.
    During the shootout, Guzman and an aide allegedly escaped through a manhole that led to the city's sewer system.
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    Soldiers chased him through the sewer tunnels, but he made it to the surface, where he stole a car, authorities said.
    He almost got away, but authorities located the car on a highway outside the city and nabbed him.
    Some of Guzman's alleged accomplices have been detained as well.
    In the July prison break, the man in charge of building the escape tunnel underneath the prison has already been arrested, along with the owner of the land over the tunnel. So was an attorney who allegedly paid for the tunnel, as was Guzman's brother-in-law, authorities added.

    Massive manhunt

    In that July escape, Guzman disappeared after stepping into the shower. He slipped through a hole in his cell block and into a tunnel that was lighted and ventilated.
    From there, he took off for San Juan del Rio, where two small planes awaited, Gomez said. Two pilots were among the dozens of people arrested.
    In the hunt for Guzman, there were reported sightings and near-misses. In October, authorities said they were hot on his trail, only to have him slip out of sight, though not before apparently breaking his leg.
    After his capture this week, a relieved President Enrique Peña Nieto applauded security forces.
    "Mission accomplished: We have him," he tweeted.

    Veteran cartel

    The Sinaloa state native started his drug cartel in 1980. He became a powerful figure, leading a multibillion-dollar empire that supplied much of the marijuana, cocaine and heroin sold on American streets.
    U.S. indictments claim the organization used assassins and hit squads to show its muscle.
    Authorities first arrested Guzman in Guatemala in 1993. They extradited him to Mexico. After his conviction, he went to the Puente Grande maximum security prison.
    But in 2001, he escaped using a laundry cart. He evaded Mexican authorities for years.
    His freedom ended in 2014, when he was arrested in the Mexican resort town of Mazatlan.
    Guzman was then sent to Altiplano Federal Prison in Almoloya de Juarez, where he successful made another daring escape last summer.
    But on Friday night, authorities paraded him before the media as their big catch. They later put him on a helicopter, ferrying him back to the same prison.