Sunday, December 2, 2012

Retired U.S. software magnate arrested on Mexico-Belize border for questioning in neighbor's murder

Oops - maybe it was just his double; Belize P.M. describes suspect as "extremely paranoid, even bonkers"

*Read updates below*
Guadalajara -
Former U.S. computer programmer John McAfee, whose anti-virus software made him both a household name and a multi-millonaire in the 1990s, has been arrested along the Mexico-Belize frontier near southern Quintana Roo state (Q.R. is in black in the map; Belize is just below it).

McAfee, 67, had been sought by authorities in connection with the Nov. 10 murder of American expatriate Gregory Viant Faull, 52, who was his next door neighbor. Faull was shot in the head, and two days after his death Belize investigators named McAfee as a person of interest in the case. The men owned adjoining beach front homes on Ambergris Caye, a Caribbean island northeast of the Belize mainland.

By the time police went looking for McAfee he had fled. In telephone calls to press sources he said was afraid that police would kill him, and refused to reveal his whereabouts. In a Nov. 15 interview Belize prime minister Dean Barrow told The Telegraph, a British newspaper, that McAfee is "extremely paranoid, even bonkers."

A Mexican news network reported early today that McAfee was taken into custody along the border, but it didn't say whether the detention occurred on Mexican or Belize soil. Prosecutors in Belmopan, the capital, have said they merely want to question McAfee. They haven't filed charges against him or named him as a suspect in Faull's murder.

In a bizarre television interview broadcast this afternoon by CNN, McAfee denied having anything to do with Faull's death. "I barely knew him, why would I kill him?" he responded. The interview was taped last week, before McAfee was arrested. CNN said that its reporter met with McAfee in Belize City, at a location which the network was unable to identify. The reporter flew into the capital, was contacted on a cell phone via prearranged coded messages, was picked up by a team of McAfee's "security agents" and was eventually delivered to the clandestine interview site after a tortuous series of vehicle and route changes, designed to shake anyone who might be following. McAfee was filmed from the front, without any effort to conceal his face but with his hair dyed jet black. He was accompanied by a woman whom he identified as his 20 year old girlfriend, telling the CNN reporter he had "many more" like her. His hands shook during the interview, and he repeated fears that police were out to kill him.

McAfee, Inc. brought enormous wealth to John McAfee, although he sold all of his interest in the company in the 1990s. In an August 20, 2009 article entitled "Rise of the Superrich Hits a Sobering Wall," the New York Times reported that McAfee's net worth had fallen from a peak of $100 million to about $4 million over the years. McAfee, Inc. has been sold and repurchased several times.

Today McAfee owns a company which is focused on the commercial production of natural antibiotics, headquartered in Belize.

McAfee is the second American citizen to be under the microscope in a western Caribbean homicide case in recent years. Former TV producer Bruce Beresford-Redman is in custody in Quintana Roo for the murder of his wife during a Cancún vacation in 2010. He fled Mexico after being ordered to remain while her suspicious death was under investigation, even though local authorities had seized his U.S. passport. Beresford-Redman, who may have escaped through Belize, was eventually arrested in Los Angeles and extradited back to Mexico in early 2012. A judge found probable cause to hold him for trial. Some allege that fraudulent passports and bogus documents may be easily acquired in Belize.

Dec. 2 - The Telegraph's story on McAfee's capture, with photo of Faull

Dec. 4 - The unidentified decoy used by McAfee to get Belize authorities off his trail (see comments just below) was carrying a North Korean passport with McAfee's name when detained. The decoy was arrested in Quintana Roo, according to a Mexican paper. It doesn't get much more creative than this.

Dec. 4 - McAfee has surfaced in Guatemala and is seeking asylum. He checked into a luxury hotel with his girlfriend yesterday. Her uncle, a prominent Guatemalan attorney, is handling the application.

Dec. 5 - Belize couldn't get a fix on John McAfee, but this hacker did.

Dec. 6 - John McAfee has been denied asylum in Guatemala. He may be back in Belize by the end of the week.

Dec. 12 - Guatemala has officially ordered McAfee expelled for unlawfully entering the country. He's being deported back to the United States - not Belize - today. There is no warrant for his arrest, but Belize authorities still want to interview him in connection with Gregory Faull's Nov. 10 murder. The prevailing rumor is that a long-running feud over McAfee's barking dogs may have led to the shooting.

No release for Bruce Beresford-Redman
Former U.S. TV producer of Survivor bound over for trial in Cancún murder


  1. According to today's news (12/3/12), John McAfee continues to elude authorities. According to ABC, McAfee is still free and now in Guatemala. The man "detained" by police with McAfee's ID, was a ruse. I'm enjoying reading about this adventure. McAfee has not been charged with a crime - he is wanted for questioning, which should mean he is relatively untouchable outside Belize. I don't think that "wanted for questioning" is or should be a deportable offense. I love his disguises, his tricks (like creating a red herring identity double), etc. Vice News (?), travelling with him, stupidly sent out a photo of McAfee which included data identifying his location - Rio Dulce park in Guatemala. The man has great taste in locales.

  2. Thanks for the interesting and helpful update. CNN has rebroadcast its "hidden location" interview with McAfee several times in the past 48 hours, without making any mention of his alleged detention (which at least two news sources reported over the weekend). It now appears those sources were wrong, but understandably so if an impersonator was carrying McAfee's ID. The only accurate analysis so far may have been that of Belize's prime minister: "McAfee's bonkers." As for the software genius himself, he must be plum worn out by now - not only from being on the lam for the past month, crossing remote international borders under cover of darkness, but from all those young girlfriends tagging along with him as well. Exhausting.

    1. Yes, those baby girlfriends no doubt tuckered out our boy, who was arrested and detained in Guatemala yesterday. Can't quite figure out why, but perhaps all (or nothing) will be revealed. At least now he can get a good night's sleep. But with all his $$, I wouldn't be amazed if he managed to "escapte."