John McAfee Held As Illegal Immigrant in Guatemala
The profile picture from John McAfee's Facebook page.
This story was updated at 3:45 p.m. Eastern time Thursday. See updates at end of story.
Fugitive American software mogul John McAfee's luck gave out yesterday (Dec. 5) when Guatemalan police arrested him on charges of having entered the country illegally.
"I am in jail in Guatemala. Vastly superior to Belize jails," McAfee wrote on his blog after his detention. "I asked for a computer and one magically appeared. The coffee is also excellent."
U.S.-based cartoonist Chad Essley, who runs McAfee's blog, first announced the arrest late yesterday, followed quickly by Reuters and the Associated Press.
"He entered the country illegally and we are going to seek his expulsion for this crime," Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla told Reuters.
Lopez added that McAfee would probably be returned to Belize, where he is wanted for questioning in a murder investigation.
Shortly after midnight local time, McAfee wrote on his blog that a judge had issued a stay of his expulsion order until a higher court could review the case.
The New York hipster magazine Vice posted a video on YouTube of what the magazine said was McAfee's arrest in downtown Guatemala City, but McAfee spent more time talking to the camera, smoking cigarettes and playing a wooden flute than interacting with the police. He was finally driven off in an extended-cab pickup truck.
"They're trying to arrest me for coming into the country illegally, but you know that this is really a move to keep me from doing my press conference," McAfee told the camera before being taken away.
An AP photo obtained from Guatemalan police showed McAfee, 67, in detention, looking a bit haggard, his signature blond-flecked hair and goatee dyed black.
"I just spoke with the duty officer at the [American] Embassy who said there is nothing that they can do," McAfee blogged late yesterday.
McAfee, who fled his beachfront home after the killing of his American neighbor, secretly crossed into Guatemala over the weekend with the apparent assistance of two reporters from Vice.
Belizean authorities insist that McAfee is merely a person of interest, and say they have not issued a warrant for his arrest. In telephone calls to American reporters and in numerous blog postings, McAfee has said the Belizean authorities plan to kill him.
Vice on Monday posted a photo of one of its reporters with McAfee at an undisclosed location under the headline "We Are with John McAfee Right Now, Suckers."
But the image's metadata quickly revealed that the photo had been taken with an iPhone next to the swimming pool at an upscale resort just inside Guatemala.
On Tuesday, McAfee announced that he had retained the services of whom Vice called "the best lawyer in the country," who also happened to be the uncle of McAfee's 20-year-old girlfriend, and said he would seek political asylum.
He also announced then that he had scheduled a press conference for today. Following his arrest, he said he was still confident it would happen.
"I believe, by the way, that blogging from a jail cell might be a groundbreaking activity," McAfee added. "Let's see if it catches on."
UPDATE: ABC News reporter Matt Gutman tweeted Thursday afternoon that McAfee was rushed to a local hospital after having complained of chest pains.
"John McAfee being taken to hospital in Guatemala," Gutman tweeted, attaching a photo of an ambulance interior, with someone who appeared to be McAfee on a stretcher. "Local press is crazy here, now in a high speed chase after ambulance."
Reuters quoted McAfee's lawyer as saying that the anti-virus software pioneer had suffered two mild heart attacks.
The medical episode followed McAfee's most recent blog posting, in which he urged readers to email and tweet the president of Guatemala on his behalf.
After the ambulance had reached the hospital, Gutman tweeted again.
"McAfee appeared unresponsive," Gutman said, attaching a photo showing McAfee wearing a blue button-down shirt and a charcoal tweed blazer. "But when nurses undressed him, he said quite clearly, 'Please, not in front of the press.'"