Fugitive Software Guru John McAfee Arrested in Guatemala, Faces Expulsion Back to Belize

After more than three weeks on the run from authorities in Belize, John McAfee was arrested Wednesday by Guatemalan authorities.

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William Gularte / REUTERS

John McAfee, U.S. anti-virus software guru, addresses a news conference outside the Supreme Court of Justice in Guatemala City December 4, 2012. McAfee, who is on the run from police in Belize seeking to question him in a murder probe, has crossed into Guatemala and said on Tuesday he will seek political asylum there. McAfee has been in hiding for three weeks since police in Belize said they wanted to question him as "a person of interest" about the murder of fellow American Gregory Faull, with whom McAfee had quarrelled.

Update 12/6 8 p.m. EST: After earlier telling Reuters that McAfee had suffered two mild heart attacks Thursday morning, the software guru’s lawyer, former Guatemalan Attorney General Telésforo Guerra, now says he did not have a heart attack after all. “He never had a heart attack. Nothing like that,” Guerra told the wire service in Guatemala City. “I’m not a doctor. I’m just telling you what the doctors told me. He was suffering from stress, hypertension and tachycardia (an abnormally rapid hearbeat).”

It’s not clear why Guerra had originally claimed that McAfee had suffered two mild heart attacks. Meanwhile, McAfee has since been released from the hospital, and was seen driving away in a police car, according to Reuters.

Update 12/6 5:30 p.m. EST: Fugitive software pioneer John McAfee was taken by ambulance to a Guatemala City hospital Thursday after suffering what his lawyer described as two mild heart attacks [see update above] while under detention for entering Guatemala illegally, according to Reuters. ABC News correspondent Matt Gutman tweeted a series of photos showing McAfee in the ambulance, as well as the crush of journalists in the emergency room.

McAfee was apparently posting an update to his blog around the time he suffered the heart attacks, his lawyer, former Guatemalan Attorney General Telésforo Guerra told Reuters. “I don’t think a heart attack prevents one from using one’s blog,” Guerra said.

McCafee’s hospitalization came after he was denied political asylum in Guatemala, where he fled after more than three weeks on the run from authorities in Belize who want to question him about the murder of his neighbor.

McAfee was arrested Wednesday by Guatemalan authorities who say they’ll seek to expel him from the country, according to multiple reports. It’s the latest twist in a bizarre saga that has baffled Belizean authorities and attracted world-wide attention for the strange and, at times, sordid details of the case.

(MOREFugitive Software Guru John McAfee Seeks ‘Asylum’ in Guatemala, Claims He’ll Be Killed in Belize)

“He entered the country illegally and we are going to seek his expulsion for this crime,” Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said, according to Reuters. According to the Associated Press, McAfee was detained with the help of agents from Interpol, an international police organization that facilitates cooperation among its 190 member countries, which include Guatemala and Belize.

A Guatemalan official had earlier told Reuters that McAfee would be expelled back to Belize and said that he expected the process to be completed by early Thursday morning.

On Tuesday, the 67-year-old McAfee arrived in Guatemala City with his 20-year-old girlfriend Samantha and promptly retained powerful Guatemalan lawyer and former Attorney General Telésforo Guerra — who also happens to be Samantha’s uncle. McAfee reportedly told Guerra that the pair have passports, “but no entry stamps into Guatemala or exit stamps from Belize.”

Hours before the arrest, McAfee declared that he would petition Guatemala for “asylum,” on the grounds that he believes he will be killed if he returns to Belize. (The prime minister of Belize has publicly referred to McAfee as “bonkers.”) After his arrest, McAfee was taken to what the AP described as “an old, three-story building used to house migrants who enter the country illegally,” according to Bonilla.

(MOREJohn McAfee Claims to Have Fled Belize After Elaborate Ruse Involving Body Double)

Belizean officials want to interview McAfee about the murder of his neighbor, American businessman Gregory Faull, who was found dead three weeks ago in a pool of blood with a 9-mm bullet wound to the head. McAfee hasn’t been charged with a crime — and denies any wrongdoing — but rather than submit to questioning, McAfee has led authorities on an international manhunt. (For background on this case, please see here.)

In a blog post on Monday, McAfee claimed to have concocted an elaborate ruse involving a body-double carrying a North Korean passport bearing McAfee’s name, who was briefly detained in Mexico before being released. Hours later, Vice magazine, which has had two journalists travelling with the fugitive for the last several days, posted a photo of a grinning McAfee standing in front of lush jungle scenery.

The photo, taken with an iPhone 4S, included location “GPS metadata” indicating that McAfee and the Vice journalists were in Guatemala, less than 20 miles from the Belize border. The Vice photographer and McAfee himself later claimed the location data on the photo had been manipulated to throw authorities off his trail. He arrived in Guatemala City hours later.

McAfee founded the anti-virus computer software firm that bears his name in 1987, and his net worth is estimated to have been $100 million at its peak. McAfee sold his stake in the company in 1994 and hasn’t been involved since. In 2010, McAfee Inc. was acquired by chip giant Intel for $7.7 billion.