MEXICO CITY — Actor Sean Penn said Monday he has “nothin’ to hide” about his clandestine visit to Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, dismissing criticism over his interview with the fugitive.

In a brief email exchange with The Associated Press, Penn was asked about images published by local news media that indicate Mexican authorities were closely monitoring him and actress Kate del Castillo ahead of their October visit with Guzman. “I’ve got nothin’ to hide,” he wrote.

Penn shrugged off a suggestion that he was “taking hits” for agreeing to submit the story to Guzman prior to publication by Rolling Stone magazine. “No, you’re reading hits,” he said.

There are quite a few envious journalists, the AP reporter commented. “True dat,” Penn replied.

Guzman was captured Friday, more than three months after meeting Penn on Oct. 2 and six months after escaping from prison.

Penn did not respond directly to questions on whether it was appropriate for him to submit his story to Guzman, though he said in the article that Guzman requested no changes.

Mexican officials have said that Guzman’s contacts with Penn and del Castillo helped them track down the fugitive and they raided his hideout a few days after the meeting. Guzman evaded authorities then, but was finally captured in the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa.

A Mexican federal law enforcement official said the Penn interview led authorities to Guzman in the area of Tamazula, a rural part of Durango state.

Penn wrote of elaborate security precautions, including switching phones. But as he flew to Mexico, he wrote: “I see no spying eyes, but I assume they are there.”

Those eyes were apparently already following del Castillo based on contacts with Guzman lawyers.

The Mexican newspaper El Universal published 10 photographs Monday that appeared to show Penn being monitored as he arrived in Mexico. The photographs show Penn and del Castillo arriving at an airport, then at a hotel, and greeting the men who apparently took them to a small airstrip, from which they flew to the jungle camp to meet Guzman.


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