A former DEA agent has called for Sean Penn to be jailed because he claims the Hollywood star allowed alleged drug cartel boss El Chapo to escape capture.
Jack Riley is now retired but he was once the highest ranking career Special Agent at the DEA. He has recently written a book about his relentless pursuit of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman who is believed to have headed the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel.
In October 2015 Riley claims that that the Mexican marines that had tracked El Chapo to a secret location and were given the order to arrest him. However, just before the planned raid was due to take place, it was called off as Sean Penn had arrived alongside Mexican soap actor Kate del Castillo to interview El Chapo.
In his book Drug Warrior: Inside the Hunt for El Chapo and the Rise of America’s Opioid Crisis, Riley details how he spent years pursuing the reputed head of the Sinaloa drug cartel who was a mastermind at giving authorities the slip.
Riley claims they were a cat’s whisker away from capturing their man at a secret hilltop compound when Penn and his Mexican soap opera star arrived without warning.
The Oscar-winning actor was there to interview El Chapo for Rolling Stone magazine and the Mexican actress was considering making a film about El Chapo.
Fearing that the two celebrities would be caught in the crossfire the authorities canceled plans to storm the compound by foot. Instead, they waited for the actors to leave and deployed helicopters, but it was too little too late. The Mexican forces had lost the element of surprise and El Chapo made his getaway.
An outraged Riley tried to convince the Justice Department to prosecute Penn for obstruction of justice, but the authorities ruled his presence at the scene was protected by law because he was acting in the capacity of a journalist.
The former fed told the New York Post, “Oh, my God! If I could get my hands on Sean Penn! ‘The people he put at risk because of that stunt. He should be in jail.”
El Chapo was arrested the next year and extradited to the United States where he is currently on trial. The 61-year-old stands accused of trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine into the United States.
Sean Penn has since expressed regret for conducting the interview claiming his sole goal was to initiate a debate about the war on drugs.