Mexican judge grants Del Castillo protection against arrest

A Mexican judge on Friday granted Kate del Castillo’s petition for an injunction against any arrest related to a federal investigation into her ties with drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
The Mexico City judge also asked the federal Attorney General’s Office to inform him about its probe of the actress’ relationship with the notorious kingpin.

He handed down the ruling after the Mexican-born American actress specified which constitutional protections she was seeking, a source with the Federal Judiciary Council, or CJF, the top administrative body of Mexico’s judiciary, told MLM.

Prosecutors are investigating whether the actress, who has lived for several years in Los Angeles and is a naturalized U.S. citizen, received funds for a boutique tequila brand or the filming of a biopic about El Chapo (Shorty) Guzman’s life.

Del Castillo was invited to serve as the image of Tequila Honor LLC, but that Mexican company says on its Web site that it has been exclusively funded by its founders and that the actress has no ownership stake.

Del Castillo on Tuesday filed a writ of amparo aimed at preventing her future arrest by Mexican authorities, citing potential violations of Articles 14 and 16 of the Mexican Constitution.

Article 14 establishes that “no one may be deprived of liberty or his/her property, possessions or rights, except by means of a judicial proceeding,” while Article 16 states that “no one may be disturbed in his (or her) person, family, domicile, papers, or possessions, except by virtue of a written order by a competent authority.”

The judge agreed to hear Del Castillo’s request but asked the actress to further specify the grounds on which she was seeking the legal protection. She complied, although the details of her response were not revealed.

The CJF source said the judge asked the AG’s office for information on its investigation into the 43-year-old actress, who is best known for her lead role in the Spanish-language telenovela “La Reina del Sur” (The Queen of the South), adding that prosecutors have until next week “at the latest” to comply.

On Thursday, the AG’s office ordered Del Castillo, who met with Guzman while he was still a fugitive, to appear before prosecutors to testify as a witness about her ties to the drug lord.

That order, which would only become effective if Del Castillo sets foot on Mexican soil, was issued after the actress did not heed a request to voluntarily appear before prosecutors.

An attorney for the actress, Adam H. Braun, told MLM Friday that his client had “nothing to hide” about her relationship with Guzman and had merely showed interest in making a movie about his life.

“The allegation that Mr. Guzman invested in the tequila company (Kate represents) is completely false, and the Mexican government knows it,” he said.

Del Castillo communicated with the drug kingpin via text messages and through his attorneys for months and arranged American actor and director Sean Penn’s interview with Guzman last October in western Mexico, traveling with Penn to the drug lord’s hideout.

The two came into contact at Guzman’s initiative after Del Castillo posted a letter on Twitter in 2012 expressing disgust with Mexico’s government and urging the drug lord to use his power and influence for the good of the country.

Mexican security forces recaptured Guzman on Jan. 8, in his native state of Sinaloa, nearly six months after his escape from a maximum-security prison outside Mexico City.

Guzman fled the Altiplano I penitentiary last July 11, using a nearly mile-long tunnel that authorities say was built at great expense.

The Sinaloa cartel leader had earlier busted out of a Mexican prison in 2001 and evaded authorities for more than 13 years before being recaptured on Feb. 22, 2014, in the Pacific resort city of Mazatlan.

Guzman, who had been the world’s most-wanted drug trafficker until his January recapture, was the subject of a $5 million reward in the United States and had a price of 60 million pesos ($3.25 million) on his head in Mexico.

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