Fugitive John McAfee arrested by police in Guatemala

Sought in connection with a murder in Belize, the fugitive antivirus software pioneer has been arrested for entering the country illegally, according to published reports.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil
3 min read
John McAfee Personal photo

John McAfee, the antivirus software pioneer sought by police in connection with a murder in Belize, was arrested today by Guatemalan police for entering the country illegally.

McAfee was arrested with the help of Interpol agents at a hotel in an upscale Guatemala City neighborhood, Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said, according to the Associated Press. Guatemala will seek to have him expelled from the country, Bonilla said, according to Reuters, although there is no international arrest warrant for McAfee, and it was not immediately clear to which country he would be deported.

The 67-year-old founder of the company that bears his name recently crossed over into Guatemala to seek asylum from officials in Belize, who have been pursuing him for the past few weeks in connection with the shooting death of his neighbor. McAfee has been on the run since November 12, when his neighbor Gregory Faull, a contractor and restaurant owner, was discovered with a bullet in his head.

Faull and McAfee had reportedly had run-ins with each other over McAfee's dogs and armed security guards. In an interview with Wired that same day, McAfee said he thought the killers had actually been looking for him and not Faull.

Yesterday, McAfee said he had hired the former attorney general of Guatamala -- who also happens to be his girlfriend's uncle -- to help him as he tries to set up a meeting with the prime minister of Belize on "neutral ground." In a blog post yesterday, McAfee described his new lawyer, Telesforo Guerra, as "one of the most prominent attorneys in Guatemala," who is "well versed in the intricate system of corruption with the Belizean Government."

McAfee's location in Guatemala was revealed Monday when a post from Vice Magazine, which had reporters following McAfee on his trip, included a photo with metadata attached. (See a teaser video below of Vice Magazine's time with McAfee, as well as video showing McAfee being detained.)

McAfee has told the media that he's being wrongfully persecuted by officials in Belize and that he fears for his life if he is arrested. "If I survive the 30 days [until the government is required to charge an accused criminal], which I doubt very strongly -- lots of people do die in prison here from strangling on their own vomit, hanging themselves because they're too miserable, or getting beaten to death by fellow inmates or a variety of other things...if I do survive the 30 days, then some judge will go, 'You're guilty. Period.'"

The bizarre chain of events include a raid on McAfee's house in May in which police said they found multiple unlicensed firearms and McAfee with a 17-year-old girl. They also said he was manufacturing an antibiotic in his home without a license.

About a week after Faull's murder, McAfee began writing a blog that chronicled his efforts to hide from the police. In one post, McAfee writes that he is traveling with a 20-year-old woman named Samantha, whom he credits with helping to keep him fed, clothed, and in hiding.

"She has also helped me evade detection by grabbing me and kissing me, in public, in a fashion that causes passerby's to feel embarrassment at the thought of staring and by creating emotional scenes that cause the curious to momentarily forget what they were looking for," he wrote. "She is acutely aware of her surroundings and is as street smart as a sober hobo."

Brief film of McAfee's detainment: