Internet security company McAfee’s co-founder John McAfee is reportedly on the run from the local authorities in the Central American nation of Belize.
Trying to flee from the US authorities in which he faces a $5-million lawsuit for wrongful death, the British-born co-founder fled to Belize and set up a home for himself while trying to start a new business making antibiotics from jungle plants.
“After his company suffered setbacks, the yoga lover moved to Belize in 2008 and then launched a bid to make antibiotics from jungle plants. As of 2009 his fortune, once valued at $100-million, had fallen to $4-million,” wrote The Daily Mail.
But McAfee’s home in Belize was raided on suspicion of him running a methamphetamine laboratory, and for allegedly harbouring illegal drugs and weapons.
McAfee was arrested by the nation’s Gang Suppression Unit (GSU), for charges he claims “refusing to donate money to a local politician”. The GSU said that he was arrested for possessing an illegal firearm, but it is widely speculated that the running a methamphetamine laboratory was the main charge.
“The GSU have issued additional charges but have not divulged what they might be. Having spent one night already sleeping on the concrete floor of the Belize City jail I am not excited about the prospect of returning,” McAfee wrote on a private messageboard from an iPad he claims only has 17% charge left.
The country’s GSU issued a statement after his arrest, and detailed what they recovered from the scene. “Present on the premises at the time were John McAfee, his girlfriend who is a 17-year-old Belizean girl and five security guards. During the search ten firearms – seven 12-gauge pump action shotguns, one 12-gauge single action shotgun, one Taurus nine-millimetre pistol and one nine-millimetre CZ pistol were found.”
The once-multimillionaire has now taken to the Internet to prove his innocence by posting evidence from a secret location in Belize after being released from the city jail.
“Five of us slept crowded together in the least contaminated corner. I was out before dawn so I shouldn’t complain. My lawyers tell me there is absolutely nothing to worry about, so that makes me very worried,” he added.
McAfee also added that he was indeed in hiding. “For those of you who follow the news in Central America, you will know that I am in hiding in an undisclosed location in Belize. I am in a one room house in an uninteresting location. I have not been outdoors for 5 days. I have no cable or satellite TV and I have three DVDs,” he wrote.
The fugitive also explained why he thinks the GSU originally arrested him for operating a meth lab. “In the Third World such a thing is a serious crime – the drug companies don’t particularly like people interfering with their business. But basically what I developed is a topical antiseptic. That’s what they claimed was my meth lab,” added in the post.
Eric Heyden, public affairs officer for the American Embassy in Belize seems to be unaware about the case against McAfee. “I don’t have any general information about his case. I am as perplexed and confused as you are as to why the gang suppression unit would be taking action about a private American citizen,” he told Gizmodo.
“McAfee is in limbo. He’s not in hiding any longer, but he also hasn’t returned home and, in his words, is keeping a low profile. There is, very literally, no telling what will come next,” the site wrote.
McAfee distributed world’s first marketable anti-virus software from his home in California in the late 1980’s, and allegedly employed Wiccan witches to bang drums at the headquarters of his anti-virus software firm.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor