MIAMI – Computer software pioneer John McAfee was back on American soil Wednesday after being expelled from Guatemala, escaping immediate deportation to Belize for questioning over his neighbor’s murder.
McAfee and 20-year-old girlfriend Samantha Vanegas spent more than three weeks on the run in Belize after his neighbor’s November 11 murder before crossing illegally into Guatemala, where he was arrested on December 5.
“He (McAfee) was on the plane. Looked quiet, but he was held by security just after we landed,” Mike, a passenger on the plane who only gave his first name, told AFP after they landed at Miami International Airport.
Customs officials did not immediately respond to calls from AFP regarding McAfee’s legal status and what would happen to him now.
McAfee’s high-profile lawyer, former Guatemalan attorney general Telesforo Guerra, successfully fought his deportation back to Belize after he failed to win political asylum in Guatemala.
“Under national migration laws, Mr McAfee has been expelled to the United States,” Guatemalan immigration spokesman Fernando Lucero said earlier.
Wearing a blue suit and white shirt, McAfee appeared relaxed and happy after getting out of a police vehicle in Guatemala City and walking freely to the flight waiting area.
“I am wonderful, thank you. I am going to America, to Miami,” he told AFP before boarding the plane to Florida.
McAfee said he wasn’t sure what his next immediate steps would be but confirmed that he did intend to make a film about his made-for-Hollywood life story. “I am going to do the movie, yes,” he said.
Asked about the effect of his adventures in Central America, he said: “I got 10 years older.”
Guerra told reporters that McAfee had chosen to leave the country for personal safety reasons. “He prefers to be in the United States where he will be safer than here or in Belize,” the lawyer said.
Authorities in Belize want to question McAfee 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.
McAfee denies murdering his neighbor and says he went on the run because he feared for his life if apprehended in Belize, claiming he knew too much about official corruption.
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.
Belize’s Prime Minister Dean Barrow has shrugged off McAfee’s claims of official intrigue in his country, saying the American is “extremely paranoid.”
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.