Dec 12, 2012 No Comments ›› Chuck Biscuits
Software company founder John McAfee poses for pictures after a press conference outside the Supreme Court in Guatemala City, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012.
GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – John McAfee’s odyssey on the run opened a new chapter after Guatemala prepared to deport to the United States the former Silicon Valley millionaire wanted for questioning in Belize over the murder of a fellow American.
McAfee, 67, has been held for a week in Guatemala, where he surfaced after evading officials in Belize for nearly a month following the killing of American Gregory Faull, his neighbor on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye.
McAfee has led the world’s media on a game of online hide-and-seek in Belize and Guatemala since he fled after Faull’s death, peppering the Internet with pithy quotes and colorful revelations about his unpredictable life.
“I’m happy to be going home,” McAfee told reporters dressed in a black suit as police escorted him to Guatemala City airport on Wednesday afternoon. “I’ve been running through jungles and rivers and oceans and I think I need to rest for a while. And I’ve been in jail for seven days.”
He told Reuters a short while later that he had boarded a plane for Miami and was waiting to take off.
Police in Belize want to quiz McAfee as a “person of interest” in Faull’s death, though the tech guru’s lawyers managed to block an attempt by Guatemala to send him back there.
Guatemala’s immigration authorities have been holding McAfee since he was arrested last Wednesday for illegally entering the country with his 20-year-old Belizean girlfriend.
A Guatemalan immigration official said he would be sent to the United States, and McAfee said he would keep paying lawyers to work on getting his girlfriend a U.S. visa as well.
The eccentric tech pioneer, who made his fortune from the anti-virus software bearing his name, has been chronicling life on the run in a blog, www.whoismcafee.com.
BELIZE STILL WAITING
The tattooed McAfee and Faull had quarreled at times, including over McAfee’s unruly dogs. Authorities in Belize say he is not a prime suspect in the investigation.
McAfee claims Belize authorities will kill him if he turns himself in for questioning. He has denied any role in Faull’s killing and said he is being persecuted by Belize’s ruling party for refusing to pay some $2 million in bribes.
Belize’s prime minister has rejected the allegations, calling McAfee paranoid and “bonkers.
Belize police spokesman Raphael Martinez said Belize would still want to question McAfee if he reached the United States.
“He will be just under the good will of the United States of America. He is still is a person of interest, but a U.S. national has been killed and he has been somewhat implicated in that murder. People want him to answer some questions,” he said.
“We have good relations with the United States of America and I am sure that we will get to the bottom of it.”
The predicament of McAfee, a former Lockheed systems consultant, is a far cry from his heyday in the late 1980s, when he started McAfee Associates. McAfee has no relationship now with the company, which was sold to Intel Corp.
McAfee was previously charged in Belize with possession of illegal firearms, and police had raided his property on suspicions that he was running a lab to produce illegal synthetic narcotics. He says he has not taken drugs since 1983.
“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,” he told Reuters just before his arrest. “Then I finally went to Alcoholics Anonymous, and that was the end of it.”