Kate del Castillo speaks in Telemundo's "La Reina Del Sur" panel during the NBCUniversal TCA Winter Press Tour on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Kate del Castillo glad to not testify in 'El Chapo' trial

January 29, 2019 - 8:17 pm

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — 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.

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.

"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.