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Updated Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 06:09 AM

Guatemala police arrest software guru McAfee

The Associated Press

GUATEMALA CITY — Software-company founder John McAfee was arrested by police in Guatemala on Wednesday for entering the country illegally, hours after he said he would seek asylum in the Central American country.

The anti-virus guru was detained at a hotel in an upscale Guatemala City neighborhood with the help of Interpol agents and taken to a building used to house migrants who enter the country illegally, said Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla.

It was the latest twist in a bizarre tale that has seen McAfee refuse to turn himself in to authorities in Belize, where he is a person of interest in the killing of a neighbor, and then go on the lam, updating his progress on a blog and claiming to be hiding in plain sight, before secretly crossing the border into Guatemala.

"He will be in danger if he is returned to Belize, where he has denounced authorities," said his lawyer in Guatemala, Telesforo Guerra. "His life is in danger."

Guerra said he would ask that a judge look at McAfee's case as soon as possible. "From the moment he asked for asylum he has to have the protection of the Guatemalan government."

Earlier Wednesday, McAfee said he had formally requested asylum in Guatemala after entering the country from Belize, where he says he fears for his safety because he has sensitive information about official corruption and refused to donate to local politicians.

"Yes, we are presenting this, and I want it to be clear, because of the persecution, not because of the murder," he said of his asylum bid.

Police in Belize say there is no warrant for his arrest.

The country's prime minister has questioned McAfee's mental state. Since there are no restrictions on his travels, it's unclear why McAfee, 67, would need any special status to stay in Guatemala.

McAfee went on the run last month after officials tried to question him about the killing of Gregory Viant Faull, who was shot to death last month on the Belize island where both men lived.

McAfee had engaged in a series of clashes with neighbors and authorities over accusations that he kept aggressive dogs, illegal weapons and drug paraphernalia in his beachfront home. McAfee acknowledges that Faull had complained about them, but denies killing Faull.

The Faull family has said through a representative that the slaying of their loved one on Ambergris Caye has gotten lost in the media frenzy provoked by McAfee's manipulation of the media detailing his life as a supposed fugitive.

McAfee dropped out of sight in Belize after police said they were seeking him, although he grabbed global attention with phone calls with reporters and blog updates. He claimed to be wearing disguises and watching as police raided his house.

McAfee, the creator of the McAfee anti-virus program, has led an eccentric life since he sold his stake in the software company in the early 1990s and moved to Belize about three years ago to lower his taxes.

John McAfee speaks to media in Guatemala on Tuesday


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