Guatemala Arrests Rogue AV Founder McAfee

In a stream of blog posts from prison, McAfee details his arrest for immigration violations after fleeing Belize, where he's wanted for questioning in a murder investigation.

Mathew Schwartz

December 6, 2012

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Authorities in Guatemala have arrested pioneering antivirus developer John McAfee -- who's fleeing from a murder investigation in Belize -- for having entered their country illegally.

"John McAfee has been detained in Guatemala at the immigration office by the SPT (special police task force). Vice magazine has filmed the arrest, and will be posting the video shortly on their website. This is not a prank or a misdirection," read a post made by cartoonist Chad Essley to a blog he maintains with McAfee.

In yet another twist in the bizarre case involving 67-year-old McAfee -- information security expert, aerotrekking pilot, psychoactive drug researcher, and now fugitive from justice -- the suspect himself is now blogging about his incarceration, live from prison. "I am in jail in Guatemala. Vastly superior to Belize jails. I asked for a computer and one magically appeared. The coffee is also excellent," he posted late Wednesday. McAfee said he's been allowed to use prison warden Gino Ennati's MacBook Pro to update his blog.

[ For more background on the McAfee story, see McAfee Founder Says Belize Framing Him For Murder. ]

McAfee first surfaced in Guatemala -- by mistake -- earlier this week, when Vice magazine, which has been shadowing McAfee, uploaded an iPhone snap of him containing EXIF-encoded location data, showing that he was no longer in Belize. While McAfee at first attempted to dismiss the Guatemalan GPS coordinates as an elaborate misdirection, he soon admitted that it had been a foul-up, and that he was in Guatemala with his girlfriend and two journalists.

Immediately after his arrest in Guatemala, McAfee's supporters tried to get a judge to release him on bail so he wouldn't have to spend the night in prison. But he apparently remains incarcerated, although doesn't face the threat of immediate deportation. "My lawyer just brought a judge to the jail and the judge issued a stay order until a higher judge can review the case," said McAfee in a Thursday blog post. "This effectively stops Immigration from returning me to the Belize border."

McAfee told ABC News that he'd chosen Guatemala carefully as his destination, and that he planned to seek asylum there, which his lawyer said might take two to three weeks.

McAfee -- previously best known as the founder of the antivirus firm bearing his name, which has since been purchased by Intel -- has been a fugitive from justice in Belize since November 11, when he disappeared after being sought for questioning about the murder of his 52-year-old neighbor, Gregory Viant Faull, who was a fellow American expatriate residing in the country.

Claiming he's innocent, McAfee has accused the government of Belize of framing him for the murder, as well as poisoning his dogs. But officials in Belize have denied those accusations, with the country's prime minister, Dean Barrow, going so far as to criticize the American's behavior as "extremely paranoid" and "bonkers."

McAfee said Thursday that the U.S. government has declined to intervene in his immigration case in Guatemala. "I just spoke with the duty officer at the Embassy who said there is nothing that they can do. I asked to be returned to the States, and again ... nothing they can do. So I will wait and see," he said in a blog post. "P.S. Anybody have friends in the State Department?"

Benchmarking normal activity and then monitoring for users who stray from that norm is an essential strategy for getting ahead of potential data and system breaches. But choosing the right tools is only part of the effort. Without sufficient training, efficient deployment and a good response plan, attackers could gain the upper hand. Download our Fundamentals Of User Activity Monitoring report. (Free registration required.)

About the Author(s)

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights