Latin America

Mexican prosecutors issue seek and capture order for actress Kate del Castillo

Soap opera star asks for legal protection after failing to testify about her ties with ‘El Chapo’

Kate del Castillo and ‘El Chapo Guzmán.’
Kate del Castillo and ‘El Chapo Guzmán.’GETTY / ROLLING STONE
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Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR) has issued a warrant for soap opera actress Kate del Castillo to appear before prosecutors to discuss her ties with captured drug lord Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán.

The order states that authorities must find Del Castillo and bring her before the PGR in Mexico City. Del Castillo, who lives in Los Angeles, could be arrested by authorities if she enters Mexico.

The actress, who was reportedly trying to negotiate a business deal with the Sinaloa cartel leader, failed to appear to testify before a team of prosecutors last month at the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles.

Prosecutors from the PGR’s organized crime and special investigations unit could ask the US State and Justice Departments for their assistance in locating Del Castillo, according to the Mexican daily La Reforma.

Del Castillo, who lives in Los Angeles, could be arrested by authorities if she enters Mexico

The star of the soap opera La reina del sur – in which she plays a drug queenpin – has asked for legal protection from being arrested.

The PGR is trying to determine whether Del Castillo received money from El Chapo to set up a tequila business they both had reportedly been negotiating before his capture on January 8.

Prosecutors are basing their case on a series of text messages between Del Castillo and El Chapo’s lawyer, Andrés Granados, in which they discuss the business plan. The messages were intercepted by Mexican intelligence and later made public.

Del Castillo had also been negotiating with El Chapo to produce a movie about his life, and was instrumental in introducing US actor Sean Penn to the drug lord last October during a secret meeting. Penn, who wanted to interview the Sinaloa cartel leader, wrote about his experience in Rolling Stone.

Prosecutors want to know if Del Castillo received money from ‘El Chapo’ to set up a tequila business

The Mexican government has said that the interception of conversations and text messages between the actress and El Chapo’s men helped authorities locate where he was hiding out.

In one of those communications that took place on September 25, Del Castillo and El Chapo went over last-minute details for their meeting somewhere in the rugged mountains saddling the states of Durango, Sinaloa and Chihuahua, an area known as the Golden Triangle.

El Chapo met with Del Castillo and Penn on October 2.

Her alleged ties to El Chapo have boosted Del Castillo’s celebrity status – for better or worse. Puerto Rican singer Elvis Crespo has written a new merengue hit about their relationship entitled Escapate de esa prison (or, Escape from that prison).

Meanwhile, Mexican norteña music singers Lupillo Rivera and Louis James recorded their single Tequila soon after the scandal broke about Del Castillo’s business dealings with El Chapo.

The actress has told a Mexico City court that her constitutional rights are being violated

The actress, who has both US and Mexican citizenship, has not offered any details about her ties to the drug cartel leader.

Her lawyers filed a petition with a Mexico City court for legal protection to prevent her arrest.

According to the Judicial Council, the petition was received but not admitted because of its ambiguity in arguments.

Specifically, the actress is asking for protection from justice “for acts that took place outside a trial.”

Among the arguments, Del Castillo states that her constitutional rights are being violated.

The court has given her five days to explain her arguments.

According to legal sources, the petition most probably seeks a protection order against any future attempt by the PGR to arrest her.

English version by Martin Delfín.

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