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John McAfee freed from Guatemalan jail, will fly to U.S.

December 12, 2012|By Christine Mai-Duc
  • Software company founder John McAfee conducts an interview at a restaurant in Guatemala City on Dec. 4.
Software company founder John McAfee conducts an interview at a restaurant… (Moises Castillo / Associated…)

Software company founder John McAfee has been released from a Guatemalan detention center and is flying to the U.S., according to the Associated Press.

The AP reports that Guatemalan officials escorted McAfee from the detention center to the Guatemala City airport.

Earlier this afternoon, a spokesman for Guatemala’s immigration office confirmed to Reuters that McAfee would be released. “Complying with migration law, Mr. John McAfee is to be deported to his country of origin," Fernando Lucero told Reuters.

A Guatemalan judge had ordered McAfee's release Tuesday afternoon, calling his detention "illegal," according to his lawyer, Telesforo Guerra.

McAfee told Reuters he was heading to Florida.

"I'll be leaving at 3:30 (p.m.) to Miami," he told Reuters by telephone, leaving for the airport shortly after. "That was the only option I had. I can't take a flight that stops in any other country, and there are only two flights going to America today."

Officials in Guatemala arrested McAfee last week, saying he had entered the country illegally. He’s been on the run from officials in neighboring Belize for more than a month after being named a “person of interest” in the fatal shooting of his neighbor, American expatriate Gregory Faull. The two had reportedly argued before, particularly over McAfee's dogs.

Belize police said they merely wanted to question McAfee, who lived near Faull on Ambergris Caye, an exotic Carribean island off the coast of Belize. But McAfee, who founded the antivirus company that still bears his name, has said he believes he’ll be killed if captured by Belize officials.

The Belizean prime minister has dismissed the claims, calling McAfee paranoid and "bonkers."

In recent days, the eccentric entrepreneur who has dabbled in yoga, ultralight aircraft and was said to keep numerous guns and young women at his Belize home, has expressed a desire to return to the United States and live out his “declining years” in peace.

McAfee has chronicled his life on the lam with few interruptions, garnering hundreds of comments, and even securing a MacBook Pro to blog from the Guatemalan detention center where he was held.

The posts were often long, rambling thoughts on drugs, love and numerous theories about corrupt government officials in Belize.   

One of the latest messages on his blog, however, stated simply: “John will be released from detention at 9:00 A.M., Guatemala Time from the Immigration detention center in Guatemals [sic] City. He has not divulged his plans.”

Belize police spokesman Raphael Martinez said in a phone interview that sources in Guatemala had told him McAfee would soon board a plane bound for the United States.

"It will be totally up to the government of the United States whether or not they would release him for questioning," said Martinez, who has expressed hope that Belize police could still question McAfee even after his return to the U.S.

ALSO:

John McAfee to be released from Guatemalan jail, his lawyer says

McAfee founder surfaces in Guatemala after giving Belize the slip

John McAfee denied asylum in Guatemala, could be deported to Belize

christine.maiduc@latimes.com

@cmaiduc

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