Lawyer: Actress del Castillo willing to talk about drug capo

By E.J. TAMARA - Associated Press 05 February 2016, 12:00AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An attorney for Kate del Castillo said Thursday the actress is willing to talk to authorities in her native Mexico about her encounters with drug cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman after prosecutors there issued an order for her to be located and brought in for questioning.

Mexican investigators have been seeking to interview her as part of a probe of possible money-laundering involving Guzman and the actress' tequila business. That followed last month's revelation that she helped broker a meeting between the capo and actor Sean Penn. She has not been accused of any crime.

"In the course of the investigation they are going to talk to her, right?" Harland Braun, her U.S. lawyer, told The Associated Press. "If we receive proper information and credentials, she'll talk to them. She's not hiding anything."

"There's no problem locating her. ... Everyone knows she has lawyers, publicists, agents," Braun added.

Earlier in the day, two Mexican security officials said federal prosecutors had issued the search order because the movie and telenovela star did not voluntarily appear before authorities to give a statement as requested. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The officials said the order applies only to Mexican territory and added that if del Castillo were found to be in the country, she would be detained to make a statement as a witness and then released after doing so.

Braun said del Castillo, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was currently in Los Angeles, where she has lived for years, and feeling "a bit disappointed."

She recently sought a court injunction that would bar Mexican authorities from detaining her, although the judge asked her lawyers for more specifics before proceeding with the case.

In mid-January she tweeted that many people were making up "items they think will make good stories and that aren't truthful," and that she looked forward to telling her side of the story.

Mexican authorities say the October meeting between Guzman, del Castillo and Penn in the mountains of northwestern Mexico helped them locate the cartel leader, though he escaped arrest on that occasion.

The encounter was described by the actor in a Rolling Stone article published Jan. 9, a day after Guzman was captured in a raid in the city of Los Mochis. Mexican officials have not sought to question Penn.

The Mexican newspaper Milenio later published a series of text messages between del Castillo and "El Chapo" in which the drug lord showed more interest in the actress than in Penn. The two had planned to meet again.

A federal official confirmed the messages were authentic.

Del Castillo has appeared in movies and TV shows produced in the United States, Mexico and elsewhere including "Weeds" and "La Reina del Sur," in which she portrayed a powerful cartel boss. Last year she had a part in the feature film "The 33," a fictional account of the 2010 Chilean mine collapse that trapped 33 miners underground for months.

By E.J. TAMARA - Associated Press 05 February 2016, 12:00AM

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