Sean Penn’s new real-life role as investigative reporter could land him in trouble with both Mexican drug runners and the DEA, experts say.
Rolling Stone magazine ran the actor’s interview with one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, two days day after El Chapo was apprehended by Mexican law enforcement.
“Depending on what the cartels and/or the many corrupt Mexican cops and Mexican government officials believe El Chapo divulged during the interview, Penn, and whomever else was present, may be in more physical danger than he could ever imagine,” said Michael Levine, a 25-year DEA veteran and author of the bestseller “Deep Cover, Mexican Government Drug Corruption from the Inside.”
“He poked his head into a nest of vipers with an amazing global reach,” Levine added. “He was a fool. As public as Penn is he will be a sitting duck.”
Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez said Friday that El Chapo's dealings with Hollywood types helped them nab the fugitive.
"Another important lead that allowed us to locate him, was the discovery that Guzman intended to make a movie about his life," Gomez said. "To that end, he established communication with actresses and producers ... In fact, the surveillance allowed us to document the meetings between these people his (Chapo's) lawyers."
A law enforcement official told FOX411 that not only could Penn be in danger, so could his family.
“It won’t happen now. They (the Cartel) wait,” the insider said. “Him or people close to him are in danger. They don’t single out the one person. They go for the person’s family.”
But El Chapo’s cohorts may not be Penn’s only worry going forward. A former federal agent old FOX411 that there is “enough to bring charges against Penn depending on how authorities could articulate that he had hid the location of a fugitive, knowing that El Chapo is a national security threat to the U.S."
The ex-agent explained that "because Hollywood is not considered press, they don't get the same rights as a reporter. So Penn is not protected the same as a member of the press. The charges could be aiding and abetting/accessory to a fugitive.”