GUATEMALA CITY – US anti-virus software pioneer John McAfee escaped immediate deportation to Belize on Wednesday as Guatemala decided to expel the American back to the United States instead.
“Mr McAfee will be expelled to the United States shortly,” said immigration spokesman Fernando Lucer, as an AFP photographer witnessed him being taken from his detention center to the airport by police convoy.
McAfee, who entered Guatemala illegally after more than three weeks on the run, is wanted in Belize for questioning over his neighbor’s murder last month.
His specific destination was not immediately known. Lucer said only that he would be put on a commercial flight.
The 67-year-old McAfee, who was arrested on December 5 for entering Guatemala illegally, denies murdering his neighbor and says he went on the run because he feared for his life if apprehended in Belize.
His request last week for asylum in Guatemala was denied. Authorities in Belize want to question him about the death of 52-year-old Florida expatriate Gregory Faull, who was found by his housekeeper with a 9-mm bullet in his head, lying in a pool of his own blood.
Prior to his murder, Faull had orchestrated a letter of complaint to the local mayor, urging the authorities to take action because McAfee’s “vicious” dogs and aggressive security guards were scaring tourists and residents.
McAfee shot dead four of his dogs before fleeing, claiming they had been poisoned by Faull.
Police in Belize said weeks ago that ballistics experts were seeking a match between bullets founds in the dog carcasses and one found in the murder victim, but no results have been announced.
McAfee has not been directly accused of Faull’s murder, but police have said he is wanted for questioning as a “person of interest” in the case.
McAfee amassed an estimated $100 million fortune during the early days of the Internet in the 1990s, designing the pioneering anti-virus software that bears his name, before cashing out to become an intrepid adventure-seeker.
He decamped to Belize in 2009 after losing most of his fortune due to bad investments and the financial crisis.
McAfee was briefly incarcerated in April after police found him living with a 17-year-old girl and discovered an arsenal of seven pump-action shotguns, one single-action shotgun, and two 9-mm pistols.