Guatemala Detains Software Guru McAfee

GUATEMALA CITY (TIP): Guatemalan police arrested U.S. software guru John McAfee for illegally entering the country and said it would expel him to neighboring Belize, which he fled after being sought for questioning over his neighbor’s murder. McAfee, 67, who had been in hiding for three weeks, crossed into Guatemala with his 20-year-old girlfriend to evade authorities in Belize who wanted to quiz him as “a person of interest” about the killing of fellow American Gregory Faull. “He entered the country illegally and we are going to seek his expulsion for this crime,”Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said. McAfee was detained by Guatemalan police and a member of Interpol at the upscale Intercontinental hotel in Guatemala City.

Government spokesman Francisco Cuevas said McAfee would be expelled to Belize and he expected the process to be completed by early Thursday morning. McAfee’s lawyer Telesforo Guerra said he would seek an injunction to have him released. There is no international arrest warrant for McAfee. Police in Belize say he is not a prime suspect. McAfee was taken to a residence belonging to the immigration department guarded by a small group of police. He had been seeking political asylum in Guatemala, which has been embroiled in a long-running territorial dispute with Belize. One of Silicon Valley’s first entrepreneurs to build an Internet fortune, McAfee made millions of dollars through the Internet antivirus that now carries his name.

His behavior has been increasingly erratic in recent years. Residents and neighbors on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye, where McAfee has lived in Belize for about four years, say he is eccentric, impulsive, volatile and at times unstable, citing his love of guns and young women. McAfee has sa id he believes authorities in Belize will kill him if he turns himself in for questioning. Belize’s prime minister has denied this and called hi m pa ranoid and ‘bonkers.’ ‘It’s a wild, wild country,’McAfee told Reuters in an interview in his hotel room just hours before his detention. ‘Everyone sees one part of Belize ,’ he said. ‘They think it’s a wonderful, peaceful, lovely place, blue waters, so McAfee has got to be crazy. May be I am crazy. If I were, I wouldn’t k now.’ In Belize, he was often seen with armed bodyguards dressed in camouflage, pistols tucked into his belt.

McAfee’s slain neighbor had complained about the loud barking of dogs that guarded his exclusive beachside compound. His run-in with authorities in Belize is a world away from a successful life in the United States, where the former Lockheed systems consultant started McAfee Associates in the late 1980s. McAfee has no relationship now with the company, which was sold to Intel Corp. There was already a case against McAfee in Belize for possession of illegal firearms, and police had previously raided his property on suspicion he was running a lab to make illegal synthetic narcotics. He says he has not taken drugs since 1983. ‘(Before then) I took drugs constantly, 24 hours of the day, I took them for years and years. I was the worst drug abuser on the planet,’ McAfee said. ‘Then I finally went to Alcoholics Anonymous, and that was the end of it.’

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