Smitten with actress, Mexico's 'Chapo' tripped up by flirting

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Mexican Authorities Now Investigating Actress In Connection With El Chapo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -- Details of flirtatious phone messaging chats between Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and actress Kate del Castillo have gripped Mexico, and an official said his "obsession" with her led him to lower his guard and be caught.

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Guzman, 57, was arrested in the northern city of Los Mochis on Friday, six months after a dramatic second jailbreak through a tunnel in his cell. He is now back in the same prison.

Mexican authorities said they intercepted a series of instant message conversations in which del Castillo, 43, brokered a secret meeting between Guzman, herself and Hollywood star Sean Penn in October, helping them trace the kingpin.

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Smitten with actress, Mexico's 'Chapo' tripped up by flirting
This frame-grab taken from Jan. 8, 2016 video released by Mexico's presidential press office, shows Mexican navy marines storming a home during the operation to recapture Mexico's most wanted drug kingpin, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in Los Mochis, Mexico. Mexico has begun the process of extraditing Guzman to the United States, where he faces drug-trafficking charges, but that could take "a year or longer" because of legal challenges, said the head of Mexico's extradition office, Manuel Merino. He cited one extradition case that took six years. (Mexico's presidential press office via AP)
This frame-grab taken from Jan. 8, 2016 video released by Mexico's presidential press office, shows Mexican navy marines storming a home during the operation to recapture Mexico's most wanted drug kingpin, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in Los Mochis, Mexico. Mexico has begun the process of extraditing Guzman to the United States, where he faces drug-trafficking charges, but that could take "a year or longer" because of legal challenges, said the head of Mexico's extradition office, Manuel Merino. He cited one extradition case that took six years. (Mexico's presidential press office via AP)
This frame-grab taken from Jan. 8, 2016 video released by Mexico's presidential press office, shows Mexican navy marines storming a home during the operation to recapture Mexico's most wanted drug kingpin, Joaquin "El Chapo Guzman" Guzman in Los Mochis, Mexico. Mexico has begun the process of extraditing Guzman to the United States, where he faces drug-trafficking charges, but that could take "a year or longer" because of legal challenges, said the head of Mexico's extradition office, Manuel Merino. He cited one extradition case that took six years. (Mexico's presidential press office via AP)
Blood and car oil cover the garage floor, and gun holes puncture the walls, inside the home where marines engaged in a gun battle during the search for Mexican drug lord Joaquin âEl Chapoâ Guzman, in Los Mochis, Mexico, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. Guzman apparently fled from the home into the sewer and emerged blocks away, where he commandeered a vehicle and continued his escape until authorities eventually caught him on Friday. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)
Police tape surrounds the entrance of the home where marines engaged in a gun battle during the search for Mexican drug lord Joaquin âEl Chapoâ Guzman, in Los Mochis, Mexico, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. Guzman apparently fled from the home Friday before authorities eventually caught him. A month or two of intensive renovations transformed the house into a completely enclosed structure. Windows and glass doors with horizontal grating were installed and new walls that advanced to the sidewalk. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)
A security camera sits above a street sign on the exterior wall of the home where marines engaged in a gun battle during the search for Mexican drug lord Joaquin âEl Chapoâ Guzman, in Los Mochis, Mexico, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. A month or two of intensive renovations transformed the house into a completely enclosed structure, and the new owners also installed surveillance cameras. On Friday, Guzman fled from the home before authorities eventually caught him. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)
A police truck sits parked outside the home where marines engaged in a gun battle during the search for Mexican drug lord Joaquin âEl Chapoâ Guzman, in Los Mochis, Mexico, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. Guzman apparently fled from the home Friday before authorities eventually caught him. A month or two of intensive renovations transformed the house, which is completely obscured by the tops of thick trees, into a completely enclosed structure, with its new walls advancing to the sidewalk. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)
Bullet holes cover the door at the residence where marines engaged in a gun battle during the search for Mexican drug lord Joaquin âEl Chapoâ Guzman, in Los Mochis, Mexico, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. Guzman apparently fled from the home into the sewer and emerged blocks away, where he commandeered a vehicle and continued his escape until authorities eventually caught him on Friday. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)
The garage sits empty inside the home where marines engaged in a gun battle during the search for Mexican drug lord Joaquin âEl Chapoâ Guzman, in Los Mochis, Mexico, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. Guzman apparently fled from the home, which occupies a corner lot on a busy four-lane boulevard in a neighborhood favored by local politicians, until authorities eventually caught him on Friday. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)
A Mexican navy marine stands next to a house under construction that was scene of a firefight during the operation to capture Joaquin "El Chapo "Guzman in Los Mochis, Mexico, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. Guzman, a legendary figure in Mexico who went from a farmer's son to the world's top drug lord, was apprehended after a shootout between gunmen and Mexican marines.(AP Photo/Christian Palma)
Forensic experts document the scene where one man was killed by security forces during the firefight that ensued to capture Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in a house under construction in Los Mochis, Mexico, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. Guzman, a legendary figure in Mexico who went from a farmer's son to the world's top drug lord, was apprehended after a shootout between gunmen and Mexican marines. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)
A Mexican marine keeps watch in the house where five alleged gang members were killed in the military operation which resulted in the recapture of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, in Los Mochis city, Sinaloa State, Mexico on January 11, 2016. Mexican marines recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman on January 8 in the northwest of the country, six months after his spectacular prison break embarrassed authorities. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
Bullet holes on a wall in the house where five alleged gang members were killed in the military operation which resulted in the recapture of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, in Los Mochis city, Sinaloa State, Mexico on January 11, 2016. Mexican marines recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman on January 8 in the northwest of the country, six months after his spectacular prison break embarrassed authorities. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
Blood in a room inside the house where five alleged gang members were killed in the military operation which resulted in the recapture of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, in Los Mochis city, Sinaloa State, Mexico on January 11, 2016. Mexican marines recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman on January 8 in the northwest of the country, six months after his spectacular prison break embarrassed authorities. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
Traces of heavy fighting in the house where five alleged gang members were killed in the military operation which resulted in the recapture of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, in Los Mochis city, Sinaloa State, Mexico on January 11, 2016. Mexican marines recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman on January 8 in the northwest of the country, six months after his spectacular prison break embarrassed authorities. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
A pool of blood in a room inside the house where five alleged gang members were killed in the military operation which resulted in the recapture of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, in Los Mochis city, Sinaloa State, Mexico on January 11, 2016. Mexican marines recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman on January 8 in the northwest of the country, six months after his spectacular prison break embarrassed authorities. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
A room inside the house where five gang member suspects were killed in the military operation which resulted in the recapture of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, in Los Mochis city, Sinaloa State, Mexico on January 11, 2016. Mexican marines recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman on January 8 in the northwest of the country, six months after his spectacular prison break embarrassed authorities. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
View of a room in the house where five alleged gang members were killed in the military operation which resulted in the recapture of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, in Los Mochis city, Sinaloa State, Mexico on January 11, 2016. Mexican marines recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman on January 8 in the northwest of the country, six months after his spectacular prison break embarrassed authorities. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
Inside a room in the house where five alleged gang members were killed in the military operation which resulted in the recapture of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, in Los Mochis city, Sinaloa State, Mexico on January 11, 2016. Mexican marines recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman on January 8 in the northwest of the country, six months after his spectacular prison break embarrassed authorities. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
Bullet holes on a wall in the house where five alleged gang members were killed in the military operation which resulted in the recapture of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, in Los Mochis city, Sinaloa State, Mexico on January 11, 2016. Mexican marines recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman on January 8 in the northwest of the country, six months after his spectacular prison break embarrassed authorities. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
A room inside the house where five gang member suspects were killed in the military operation which resulted in the recapture of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, in Los Mochis city, Sinaloa State, Mexico on January 11, 2016. Mexican marines recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman on January 8 in the northwest of the country, six months after his spectacular prison break embarrassed authorities. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
A journalist films on January 11, 2016 inside the house where five gang member suspects were killed in the military operation which resulted in the recapture of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, in Los Mochis city, Sinaloa State, Mexico on January 11, 2016. Mexican marines recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman on January 8 in the northwest of the country, six months after his spectacular prison break embarrassed authorities. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
Journalists work on a tunnel through which Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman tried to escape during the military operation that resulted in his recapture, in Los Mochis city, Sinaloa State, Mexico on January 11, 2016. Mexican marines recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman on January 8 in the northwest of the country, six months after his spectacular prison break embarrassed authorities. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
A journalist walks along a tunnel through which Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman tried to escape during the military operation that resulted in his recapture, in Los Mochis city, Sinaloa State, Mexico on January 11, 2016. Mexican marines recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman on January 8 in the northwest of the country, six months after his spectacular prison break embarrassed authorities. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
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A senior government official, who declined to be identified, said one reason Guzman left his redoubt in the Sierra Madre mountains of Sinaloa for Los Mochis was because he was desperate to set up another meeting with the Los Angeles-based actress.

"I'll look after you more than my own eyes," Guzman said, according to transcripts of the exchanges published by newspaper Milenio on Wednesday. "I'm very moved," she replied. "Nobody has ever looked after me."

The government official said the messages were genuine and that Guzman "had a kind of obsession" with the actress that was his undoing.

Del Castillo took to Twitter to thank her supporters and wrote: "Not surprisingly many have chosen to make up items they think will make good stories and that aren't truthful."

She pledged to give her story in due course.

The warmth between the drug lord and the actress has surprised even Mexicans inured to the often stranger-than-fiction events of the drug war. Stores in Mexico City on Wednesday sold piñatas resembling the pair, with "del Castillo" brandishing a pistol with "I love Chapo" written across it.

The newspaper said some of the messages were copied from an intercepted phone used by one of Guzman's lawyers. Another of his lawyers said reports the two were close were "speculation."

Later messages between the two appear to have been retrieved from a Blackberry device that a lawyer bought for del Castillo on Guzman's orders. The kingpin wanted her to have a pink handset but in the end agreed to gray.

Guzman's ties with del Castillo began publicly in 2012 when the actress, who has fronted campaigns for L'Oreal and Ford, wrote an open letter calling on the capo to "traffic in goodness" and saying she believed more in him than the government.

'YOU'RE MAKING ME BLUSH'

The conversation carried on after the meeting with Penn at a time when authorities were in hot pursuit of Guzman, who narrowly escaped a raid authorities say was made possible by leads gathered from his contacts with del Castillo.

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Guzman comes across in the messages as increasingly enamored with the actress, while she tries to talk about work, including an unnamed project involving people in Hollywood.

"I haven't slept much since I saw you. I'm so excited about our story," she wrote on Oct. 10. "I'm more excited about you than the story," Guzman writes. "You're making me blush," del Castillo responds.

Copies of TV episodes of "La Reina de Sur," del Castillo's most famous role, portraying a fictional trafficker, were found in the safehouse Guzman was hiding in prior to his capture.

In one exchange, del Castillo said a contact had arranged for a U.S. lawyer to defend Guzman and his sons.

The kingpin was impressed.

"Come now because I'm dying to look after you, the way it should be," he wrote. "You're the best in this world, there's no way I can repay you for what you've done for me and my children."

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