Officials say they would be willing to extradite the notorious drug lord to the US
Sean Penn interviewed Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman months before he was recaptured, it has emerged.
The actor, whose exchange with the notorious fugitive has been published by Rolling Stone magazine, secretly met the cartel kingpin in a rural part of Mexico - in a move which reportedly helped the authorities discover his whereabouts and plan the arrest.
It follows claims that Guzman was planning to make a biopic of his infamous life and had contacted actresses and producers for the film, which would have likely featured his Hollywood-style escape from a maximum-security prison in July 2015.
In the Rolling Stone article, "El Chapo" talked to Penn about his childhood and how he entered the drug trade, later becoming the head of the renowned Sinaloa drug cartel.
Guzman stressed he was not a violent person, and rejected claims that he was responsible for the high levels of drug addiction in the world - adding: "The day I don't exist, it's not going to decrease in any way at all."
The actor's question-and-answer session with the criminal also gave a fascinating insight into Guzman's mindset.
He expressed hope he would die of natural causes, said his relationship with his mother was one of "respect, affection and love", and claimed he was living life with "lots of happiness" since humiliating Mexican authorities by breaking out of his prison cell.
A Mexican official told the news agency AFP that authorities "had knowledge of this meeting", and it helped lead to the notorious drug lord's eventual capture.
On Saturday, a handcuffed Guzman was paraded in front of the world's media by marines - moments before he was bundled into a helicopter and returned to the same maximum-security jail where he staged his daring jailbreak.
Now back inside a cell at the compound, Mexican officials have said they would be willing to extradite "El Chapo" to the US - a U-turn compared to the South American country's original stance that he must serve his lengthy sentence in the country where he was born.
However, Guzman's lawyers have already filed several motions to challenge any extradition requests, with law enforcement officials warning it could be six months before he is flown across the border.
Five of the kingpin's henchmen were killed in a shootout with marines when Guzman was captured in his home state of Sinaloa - and six were captured.