MEXICO CITY — The antivirus software pioneer John McAfee was arrested in Guatemala City on Wednesday after he slipped over the border from his home in Belize where police want to question him in their investigation of the murder of his neighbor.
Jorge Dan Lopez/Reuters
John McAfee spoke during an interview in Guatemala City on Wednesday.
The interior minister, Mauricio Lopez Bonilla, told The Associated Press that Mr. McAfee, 67, had been arrested on charges of entering Guatemala illegally. He said that Mr. McAfee had been arrested at a hotel in the capital and taken to a detention center for migrants who are in the nation illegally.
- John McAfee Plays Hide-and-Seek in Belize (December 2, 2012)
Mr. McAfee had been on the run for almost a month since his neighbor, Gregory Faull, on the Belizean island of Ambergris Caye was found dead at his home on Nov. 11. Police there cited Mr. McAfee as a “person of interest” in their investigation, but Mr. McAfee disapppeared.
But he did not disappear from the Internet. He kept up a continuous stream of comment on his blog and on Twitter, accusing the Belizean authorities of persecuting him.
On Tuesday, he resurfaced in Guatemala, dressed in a suit, his blond curls dyed dark brown.
Accompanied by his 20-year-old Belizean girlfriend, Samantha Venagas, and his Guatemalan lawyer, Telésforo Guerra, Mr. McAfee said that he would seek political asylum in Guatemala. Mr. Guerra, a former Guatemalan attorney general, told reporters at a chaotic news conference outside the Supreme Court that his client was being persecuted because he refused to pay Belizean authorities off any longer.
Mr. McAfee has not been associated with the software company that bears his name since 1994, when he sold it and began to pursue his other interests. He ran a yoga retreat and then built a complex in New Mexico to indulge his hobby of flying motorized ultralight airplanes.
He moved to Belize about four years ago, buying properties on the mainland and on Ambergris Caye. It was there that he clashed with Mr. Faull, who complained about the unleashed dogs that Mr. McAfee kept on his property.
On Nov. 9, several of the dogs were found dead. They had been poisoned.
During his time in Belize, Mr. McAfee had apparently become interested in developing a designer drug called MDPV. He posted extensively about his experiments on a Web site.
But he attracted the attention of Belizean authorities, who raided one of his properties in April. He spent a night in jail, but law enforcement officials found no evidence that he was producing methamphetamine and dropped the charges.
After that experience, though, Mr. McAfee appeared to become increasingly convinced that he was being persecuted by the Belizean government. Officials deny that they are persecuting him.
Mr. Guerra told Guatemalan reporters late Wednesday that since there was no warrant for Mr. McAfee’s arrest and since his client was not a fugitive, he would seek to have his client released and returned to the hotel where he would remain under guard.