Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the Mexican drug kingpin whose cartel moves an estimated $3 billion in drugs annually, feels no responsibility for widespread drug addiction, he said in an video interview with Sean Penn for Rolling Stone magazine.
“Because the day I don’t exist, [drug addiction] is not going to decrease in any way at all,” he said in Spanish.
Rolling Stone posted the subtitled interview Tuesday, in which Guzman answers questions sent by Penn. The video was shot months after the secret interview between Penn and Guzman in the Mexican jungle. An American official with knowledge of the investigation tells PEOPLE that the interview provided “breadcrumbs to follow” that enabled Mexican authorities to capture Guzman last Friday.
When asked whether he considers himself a violent man, Guzman, who is estimated to be responsible for 34,000 deaths, said, “No…. All I do is defend myself. Nothing more. But do I start looking for trouble? Never.”
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Guzman said that he got into drug trafficking because where he grew up, in Badiraguato, Sinaloa, “there are no job opportunities.” He added, “The way to… be able to buy food to survive it to grow poppy and marijuana and from that age [of 15], I began to grow it, to harvest it and to sell it.”
He described drug trafficking as “already part of a culture that originated from the ancestors.” He said that during the time he was in prison, his business has not been impacted – “everything’s the same,” he said.
He said he is not worried the business will ever die out: “It will not end because as time goes by, we are more people, and this will never end.”
When asked if he had ever used drugs, he said he had tried them, adding, “But as an addict? No. I haven’t done any drugs in the last 20 years.”
In response to a question of whether being on the run has worn on him, he said it now feels “normal.” He added, “And no, I don’t feel anything affecting my health or my mind. I feel good.”
Finally, when asked to describe himself, he said, “I would say [I’m] a person who’s not looking for trouble in any way.”