Anti-virus software guru John McAfee was arrested by Guatemalan police on Wednesday for illegally entering the country, Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said.

McAfee crossed into Guatemala to evade authorities in Belize who want to question him in connection with the murder of his neighbour.  There is no international arrest warrant for McAff.

Just hours before his unexpected arrest, McAfee said that he was being persecuted by authorities in Belize.  

McAfee spoke in an exclusive interview with Reuters at a hotel room in Guatemala City as his lawyers prepared to seek asylum for him in Guatemala.

McAfee has been in hiding for three weeks since police in Belize said they wanted to question him as “a person of interest” about the murder of fellow American Gregory Faull, with whom McAfee had quarreled.

McAfee said he believed the murder was a home invasion gone wrong. He has denied any involvement in the crime.

“The first thing that came to my mind was not that I was set up, but that they had sent a gang of thieves to the wrong house. The government, right. and simply all gringos look alike to the average Creolan, so they thought, oh, this must be him, let’s pop him. I was terrified now that    they were coming immediately for me. That didn’t last very long, rationality recurred to me and there are – especially now, the economy is terrible – home invasions happen all the time, people steal things, they never leave witnesses.”

McAfee smuggled himself and his girlfriend, Samantha, across the porous land border that Belize shares with Guatemala.

A Guatemalan government source said there was “no reason” to detain McAfee because there was no legal case against him pending in the country. It has also been embroiled in a territorial dispute with Belize and there is no extradition treaty between the two countries.

In the interview, McAfee made a number of accusations against the government of Belize and spoke about the ruse that enabled him to slip into Guatemala.

“My plan was always Guatemala, there was no other country I could have gone to. Mexico was extremely friendly to Belize for obvious political and financial reasons. Ninety per cent of the overland drugs that go from Colombia to America goes straight through Belize over the mainland highway. There are connections, it’s certainly well known, that the higher-ups in the Belizean government in one way or another benefit from the drug trafficking. Everyone knows that except the Americans and the Europeans, well, the American DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) certainly knows that. So I would not be safe in Mexico, any other country would be very difficult for me for me to get to so it was Guatemala all along. The Belizeans knew, the Belizean government knew, that I would know it had to be Guatemala and so the southern border was impenetrable. My ruse of capture in Mexico was to detract from that focus on the southern border, which it did. There was a total relaxation.”

McAfee says he believes authorities in Belize would kill him if he turned himself in for questioning. Belize’s prime minister has denied the claim and called the 67-year-old paranoid and “bonkers.”

On the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye, where McAfee has lived for about four years, residents say he is eccentric, impulsive, erratic and at times unstable, with a penchant for guns and young women.

His run-in with authorities in Belize is a world away from a successful life in the United States, where he started McAfee Associates in 1989 and made millions of dollars developing the Internet anti-virus software that
carries his name.

McAfee said he was being persecuted.

“Now I’m a danger to the government. At that point I become someone that they want to remove or put in prison where I cannot speak for the rest of my life. Since that time I’ve had nothing but persecution, I’ve had charge after charge levelled at me that never even got to the court.”