Sean Penn secretly interviewed drug lord 'El Chapo' before capture

The US actor Sean Penn met and interviewed Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman while the Mexican drug lord was on the run, it has emerged.

Penn interviewed Guzman for Rolling Stone magazine in the first interview he has apparently given in more than two decades.

The dinner meeting, on top of a mountain at an undisclosed hideout in Mexico, was said to have lasted seven hours.

In the interview, Guzman appears to admit he operates a drugs empire - a far cry from what he said in 1993 when he insisted he was simply a farmer.

It also gives new details about Guzman's escape from prison - that he fled down a mile-long tunnel via an a hole in his cell's shower, using a motorcyle on rails.

A Mexican law enforcement official said it was the Penn interview which led authorities to Guzman in a rural part of Durango.

They decided not to open fire at the time because he was with two women and a child.

But he was later tracked to a house in Los Mochis where Mexican marines captured him after a shoot-out which left five people dead.

The interview was brokered by Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo, who herself played a Mexican drug queen in the soap opera La Reina del Sur.

It is said Guzman met with the actor as he was interested in having a film made about his life and wanted Castillo involved with the project.

Penn wrote: "He was interested in seeing the story of his life told on film, but would entrust its telling only to Kate."

El Chapo being recaptured by police. Credit: Reuters

Guzman, the boss of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, escaped from jail in July 2015.

But he was recaptured by Mexican authorities on Friday after 181 days on the run.

The US has filed several drug-trafficking charges against Guzman and Mexico aims to extradite him to America as soon as possible.

But a senior law enforcement official said it could be a lengthy wait before prosecutors get their hands on him as they must go through the judicial process.