Latin America & Caribbean

'El Chapo': LA company cashes in on drug lord's shirt

A screen grab of the website of Barrabas clothing retailer Image copyright Barrabas
Image caption Barabas advertises its shirt with the photo of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman meeting Sean Penn

A US shirt maker says its shirts are flying off the shelves after Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was pictured wearing one.

The distinctive patterned blue and grey number is seen in a picture of Guzman shaking hands with US actor Sean Penn in Rolling Stone magazine.

Penn interviewed fugitive Guzman in October. He was recaptured on Friday.

The company behind the shirt, Barabas, quickly advertised the "celebrity link" on its website.

However, it said it did not know how Guzman had got hold of one of its shirts

'Most wanted shirt'

Barabas published the now famous picture of the meeting between Sean Penn and Guzman, who at the time that the image was taken, was on the run from the Mexican authorities after escaping from a maximum-security jail.

Image copyright Barabas
Image caption Barabas spotted Guzman wearing its "Crazy Paisley" shirt

With the words "Most Wanted Shirt" emblazoned across it, Barabas posted the photograph next to an image of one of its models sporting the same shirt.

On its Facebook page, the company also offered customers the chance to win "our Barabas 'El Chapo' shirts" if they liked Barabas on Facebook or Instagram.

Barabas also posted a screenshot of a video showing Guzman wearing a silk paisley shirt, which the company says is one of its "Crazy Paisley" models.

Both shirts sell for $128 (£89).

'Big boost'

The images first appeared in the Rolling Stone article last Saturday.

In the article, Penn recounts how he interviewed the fugitive cartel leader in a remote undisclosed location in Mexico.

Penn came in for scathing criticism over the interview both in Mexico and the US, with Republican Marco Rubio calling it "grotesque".

But a Barabas representative said the shirt maker was benefitting from increased sales.

Media captionKaty Watson was shown a hidden 'wardrobe tunnel' in the house El Chapo had been staying before his recapture

"This is the shirt! It's the sensation of the moment, the phones haven't stopped ringing and we're making lots of sales and shipping many shirts, and we're expecting more to come," Barabas's Sandra Macia told news agency Efe.

Juventino Romero told Efe he had driven for 20 hours to buy the shirts at Los Angeles-based Barabas to resell them at his clothes shop in Washington state.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption "El Chapo" is seen by some as a folk hero and popular disguise at Halloween

"I came for the new shirt that 'El Chapo' was wearing in the interview, people are asking for it," he said.

Despite his reputation for being a ruthless cartel leader, whose men have killed thousands of people, "El Chapo" is seen by some as a folk hero.

After his jail break in July, shirts and baseball caps emblazoned with his name became popular and "El Chapo" masks became a bestseller at Halloween in Mexico.

Following his recapture on Friday, Guzman is being held at Altiplano prison in Mexico awaiting extradition to the United States on drugs charges.

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