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Cruz, Hayek deny links with Mexican drug trafficker
Mexico City, June 13 (IANS) Leading Hollywood actresses Penelope
Cruz and Salma Hayek have denied any link with Mexican drug
trafficker Sergio Villarreal, the owner of a ranch where the two
actress have reportedly stayed while shooting the film
“Bandidas” in 2004. “The production of Bandidas arranged
accommodation for all the actors, which is common practice in
the film industry. Penelope Cruz decided to stay in a hotel,
while Salma Hayek preferred to stay in a house,” the two
actresses said Thursday in a statement, EFE news agency reported
“Salma Hayek never knew who owned the house or had any contact
with its owners or with anything associated with the rented
place, which was paid for by the production company,” the
“Neither the actresses nor their respective film companies were
involved in the film’s production,” the statement issued by
Cruz’s agent concluded.
Mexican newspaper El Universal reported Tuesday that the two
movie stars spent several nights at a ranch owned by Sergio
Villarreal Barragan in the northern state of Durango.
The 38-year-old Villarreal is a drug trafficker who operates in
Durango, Coahuila and Sinaloa, the newspaper said, citing
documents from the Mexican Attorney General’s Office, known as
The property was rented during filming to house Hayek, El
Universal said, without specifying whether the actresses knew
the identity of the owner.
Villarreal, according to the newspaper, is a member of the
criminal organization run by the Beltran Leyva brothers, former
partners in the Sinaloa drug cartel of fugitive capo Joaquin
Guzman and now allies of Los Zetas, army veterans and deserters
working as hired guns for the Gulf cartel.
Mexican authorities accuse Villarreal, a 6-foot-5-inch former
detective, of smuggling cocaine into the US and are
investigating his alleged participation in several murders,
including killings of law-enforcement personnel.