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US software guru McAfee released, arrives in US

US software guru McAfee released, arrives in US

McAfee said his week-long detention in Guatemala for entering the country clandestinely had taken its toll on him.

Miami: Anti-virus software founder John McAfee arrived in the US on Wednesday night after being deported from Guatemala, where he had sought to evade police questioning in the killing of a man in neighboring Belize. The American Airlines commercial jet carrying McAfee landed in Miami shortly before 7 pm on Wednesday, said Miami International Airport spokesman Greg Chin.

A short time later, a posting on McAfee's website announced that he was at a hotel in Miami's upscale South Beach neighborhood. He said he arrived via taxi after a group of customs or immigration agents escorted him to an airport taxi stand. McAfee has frequently communicated through the website. "I have no phone, no money, no contact information," the post says. Reached by telephone at the hotel, McAfee told an AP reporter that he couldn't talk because he was waiting for a call from his girlfriend.

Other passengers on the flight told The Associated Press that the 67-year-old was escorted off the aircraft before others were allowed to disembark. "They asked us to please stay seated and said, "Mr John McAfee, come to the front", and he did," said Maria Claridge, a 36-year-old photographer from Fort Lauderdale. "He walked very peacefully, chin up. He didn't seem stressed."

Claridge said she did not see what happened to McAfee after he left the aircraft. She said he was well dressed, in a black suit and white shirt, appeared to be traveling alone and that she didn't realize who he was until another passenger told her. "I thought he was either a diplomat or a politician," she said. "It just seemed eerie to be traveling on an airplane with someone who was in trouble."

An FBI spokesman in Miami, James Marshall, told the AP in an email that the agency is not involved with McAfee's return to the US Authorities from US Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the US Marshals office and the US attorney's office did not immediately respond to questions about whether McAfee would be questioned or detained in the US They said there was no active arrest warrant for McAfee that would justify taking him into custody.

The British-born McAfee's 20-year-old Belizean girlfriend, Samantha Vanegas, who has accompanied him since he went on the run, was not with him on the ride to the Guatemala airport, though she later showed up at the terminal. On the blog he has been posting on for the past two weeks, McAfee wrote that "I have been forcibly separated from Sam," but claimed she would be coming to the United States later.

McAfee sat in a coach-class seat on the flight, which took off at mid-afternoon from Guatemala City, according to the airline. Bystanders in Guatemala City stopped to stare at the passing police convoy, and people at the airport crowded around the immigration truck carrying McAfee, straining to take pictures of him with their cellphones. "I'm free. I'm going to America," McAfee said before boarding the plane.

He suggested his week-long detention in Guatemala for entering the country clandestinely had taken its toll on him. "All I can tell you is, I'm 10 years older, and I don't know what I'm doing. I'm just going to Miami," he said. McAfee said on Sunday that he wanted to return to the United States and "settle down to whatever normal life" he can. "I simply would like to live comfortably day by day, fish, swim, enjoy my declining years."

His expulsion from Guatemala marked the last chapter in a strange, monthlong odyssey to avoid police questioning about the November killing of American expatriate Gregory Viant Faull, who lived a couple of houses down from McAfee's compound on Ambergris Caye, off Belize's Caribbean coast. McAfee acknowledges that his dogs were bothersome and that Faull had complained about them days before some of the dogs were poisoned, but denies killing Faull.

Belizean authorities have urged him to show up for questioning, but have not lodged any formal charges against him. McAfee has said he feared he would be killed if he turned himself in to Belizean authorities. He was in hiding in Belize for weeks after police pronounced him a person of interest in the killing of.

McAfee is an acknowledged practical joker who has dabbled in yoga, ultra-light aircraft and the production of herbal medications. He has led an eccentric life since he sold his stake in the software company named after him in the early 1990s and moved to Belize about three years ago to lower his taxes.

He told The New York Times in 2009 that he had lost all but $4 million of his $100 million fortune in the US financial crisis. However, a story on the Gizmodo website quoted him as describing that claim as "not very accurate at all."

first published:December 13, 2012, 07:47 IST