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Kate del Castillo, Who Arranged 2015 Meeting With El Chapo, Relieved Not to Be Testifying in His Trial

Kate del Castillo said she’s relieved she wasn’t called to testify in the New York trial of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Kate del Castillo speaks on the "La Reina del Sur" panel during the NBCUniversal portion of the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, in Pasadena on Jan. 29, 2019. (Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Kate del Castillo speaks on the “La Reina del Sur” panel during the NBCUniversal portion of the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, in Pasadena on Jan. 29, 2019. (Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

But she doesn’t regret arranging a 2015 meeting between Guzman and Sean Penn, although the fallout kept her from visiting and working in Mexico for more than three years, the actress said.

She filmed the upcoming Telemundo sequel to her 2011 telenovela “La Reina del Sur” outside of the country, with a double shooting her scenes in Mexico, she told a TV critics’ meeting Tuesday.

The actress said was finally able to return last Christmas but had an unsettling experience upon arrival, when use of her Mexican passport triggered an alert. Del Castillo, an American citizen, said she could have presented her U.S. passport for entry but insisted on using the document from her native country.

“It shocked me,” she said, when she was detained for about 20 minutes as officials scurried around. She recalled thinking, “‘Oh my God, they’re going to arrest me right now or I’m going to be sent back to the United States.'”

Allowed to leave, she relished visiting her parents.

Drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted into a helicopter at Mexico City's airport on Jan. 8, 2016, following his recapture during an intense military operation in Los Mochis, in Sinaloa State. (Credit: ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

Drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is escorted into a helicopter at Mexico City’s airport on Jan. 8, 2016, following his recapture during an intense military operation in Los Mochis, in Sinaloa State. (Credit: ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

“I slept right between them. … I needed that. I’m a 46-year-old woman but I felt like I was 7,” she said.

In 2017, del Castillo filed a human rights complaint alleging she was unable to travel to Mexico to work because her communications with Guzman were under investigation.

In December, she announced said she was suing former Mexican officials for $60 million in “moral and material damages” because of what she calls “political persecution” against her.

Del Castillo accused prosecutors in the administration of former President Enrique Pena Nieto of leaking information that suggested she might be linked to drug trafficking or sentimentally connected to Guzman, something she said cost her acting work.

Mexican authorities investigated del Castillo following the meeting she arranged between the then-fugitive Guzman and Penn, who wrote a magazine article based on it. Del Castillo introduced them because she was considering doing a documentary or film about Guzman’s life, something she said last year isn’t in her plans.

Guzman is on trial on drug and murder conspiracy charges that his lawyers say are fabricated.

Del Castillo said work has prevented her from following the proceedings closely and she is “happy” not to be involved.

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