Mexican Drug Lord El Chapo to Be Tried in US in 2018

Onetime Sean Penn interview subject faces charges for international drug trafficking empire

Last Updated: May 5, 2017 @ 10:53 AM

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the Mexican drug lord once interviewed by actor Sean Penn, will be tried in the U.S. in April 2018.

According to the Associated Press, a U.S. judge set the trial date on Friday. Guzman faces charges that he oversaw a multibillion-dollar drug trafficking operation responsible for crimes throughout North America.

Guzman is known as the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the the most powerful and violent drug rings in Mexico. He was recaptured a year ago after making his second successful escape from prison in July 2015, and was cleared for extradition last May.

The kingpin became something of a media sensation following his second escape, when actor Sean Penn and Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo interviewed Guzman for a controversial Rolling Stone cover story. In the interview, Guzman discussed the extensive drug trafficking network he had built since the early 1980s and noted that the Mexican illegal drug trade would continue without any delay even if he was captured.

A number of film and television projects about Guzman have cropped up in the months since his recapture. History tapped  “Narcos” writer/producer Chris Brancato for the drama series “#Cartel,” while Univision and Netflix teamed up for their own take on the drug kingpin’s life which premiered last month.

Sony is also in development on a feature adaptation of Cole Merrell’s “Hunting El Chapo,” with Michael Bay eyed as a producer and possible director.

According to the AP, Guzman has been held in solitary confinement since his extradition to the U.S., residing in a 20-by-12-foot cell for 23 hours a day in a wing of the Metropolitan Correctional Center.