MEXICO CITY – Before his brazen jailbreak last year, notorious drug boss Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman instructed his lawyers to trademark his name, giving Mexican authorities their first clue he wanted to make a film of his life, local media said on Tuesday.
The world’s most wanted drug kingpin, Guzman was recaptured last week in northwest Mexico and is now back in the same maximum security prison be escaped from in July via a tunnel that burrowed right up into his cell.
During his previous 17-month stint behind bars, Guzman asked his lawyers to begin the process of trade-marking his name with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), Mexican journalist Carlos Loret de Mola said. However, IMPI denied his request.
IMPI could not immediately be reached for comment.
According to documents seen by Reuters, IMPI rejected two applications to trademark the names “Joaquin El Chapo Guzman” and “El Chapo Guzman” in 2011, filed by Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman, who is believed to be his daughter. The applications — for clothing and apparel, not movies — were denied on the grounds that Guzman was a wanted man.
A search on the IMPI website shows a brand under the name “El Chapo,” first registered in 2006.
Local media did not explain how authorities knew at this time that Guzman might be seeking a trademark to make a film.
Mexico has said it plans to extradite Guzman, head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, to the United States, where he is wanted for exporting hundreds of tons of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin across the border.
Mexico has received guarantees from a court in Texas that if it receives Guzman as part of his extradition, it will not seek the death penalty against him, the Attorney General Office’s head of International Proceedings, Jose Manuel Merino, said in a newspaper interview on Tuesday.
He added that the Mexican government will present a “diplomatic note” to U.S. authorities so that no other U.S. jurisdiction will be able to seek the death penalty, which is outlawed in Mexico, against the extradited drug lord.
An “essential” factor in Guzman’s eventual arrest was the drug lord’s meeting with Hollywood star Sean Penn in Guzman’s remote mountaintop hideout in the Mexican state of Durango in early October, Mexico’s attorney general, Arely Gomez, said on Monday.
A plan to make a film of Guzman’s life got too complicated, and discussions with Penn and Mexican actress Kate De Castillo eventually resulted in a meeting about a magazine article, Penn said in a piece featuring the fugitive drug boss published by Rolling Stone magazine on Saturday.
Four days after the Oct. 2 meeting with Penn, 25 Mexican Marines raided the ranch at around 10 am, Loret De Mola reported in a Tuesday broadcast from the hideout, code named “Mountain Nest.”
During the operation, code named Tlatelolco as it was supposed to occur on the Oct. 2 anniversary of a famous 1968 Mexico City massacre, one of the marines had Guzman in his sights, but chose not to pull the trigger as Chapo had a young girl in his arms, Loret de Mola said.
Instead, Chapo got away, he told authorities after his capture on Friday, by scarpering down the side of a hill and eventually meeting one of his bodyguards.
Together, they spent 10 days on the run, traveling only at night, and relying on help from people living in the rural, mountainous area, Loret de Mola said.
The marines lost him, until the raid on his safe house in the city of Los Mochis, in Guzman’s native state of Sinaloa early on Friday morning, when he nearly managed to escape again through the city’s sewer system before being picked up by police.
In a tour of the ranch, Loret de Mola showed where Guzman lived, surrounded by his security detail.
With its own communications network, and surveillance posts on the surrounding peaks, the rustic redoubt had everything the drug boss needed, but was hardly befitting of a mega-rich drug trafficker who was once on the Forbes list of billionaires.
The same could be said of his safe house in Los Mochis.
The drug kingpin initially gave Mexican security forces the slip as they staged a dawn raid, opening a secret door hidden behind a mirror in his walk-in bedroom closet, and descending into a tunnel about 30 meters long that connected to the sewers.
The U.S. government wants Guzman, who is believed to be 58 years old, tried on charges ranging from money laundering to drug trafficking, kidnapping and murder.
Guzman, who is blamed for thousands of deaths in Mexico and the United States from addiction and gang warfare, is facing open federal indictments in seven U.S. jurisdictions.