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5 Points On The Other Wealthy Eccentric Who Could Make 2016 Even Weirder

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Tennessee DUI arrest

McAfee most recently made headlines when he was arrested in early August by Tennessee Highway Patrol officers for DUI and possession of a handgun under the influence.

The anti-virus software guru initially said in a Facebook post addressing the incident he'd been in a shootout with police. "When I ran out of ammunition, I surrendered quietly and the officers and my self had a cigarette together and joked about my bad aim," he wrote.

He later told CNBC that what he wrote about a shootout was a joke, adding that he always carries a weapon. McAfee explained to the news outlet that an officer pulled him over after he swerved his vehicle while reaching for a phone he'd dropped. He also said he'd just taken Xanax, which he was prescribed for stress, for the first time.

"I was impaired, I must admit," he told CNBC.

The Belize murder case

McAfee was drawn to the jungles of Belize in 2008, after losing part of the fortune he made with his anti-virus software company during the financial crisis and selling off much of his property in the U.S.

McAfee founded the security software firm in 1987 and departed with about $100 million in 1994, although the company carried his name until Intel, which bought the firm in 2010, decided to rebrand it.

But paradise didn't last. Things got hairy for the millionaire in 2012 when his neighbor, a 52-year-old American named Gregory Faull, was found shot dead in his home on Belize's Ambergis Caye. The shooting took place a couple days after McAfee's dogs, which Faull had complained about, were poisoned. Police wanted to question McAfee as a person of interest in the case, but he said he was innocent and chose to flee the country instead.

A mysterious laboratory

Even before Faull's killing, McAfee was visited by authorities in Belize in connection with a mysterious laboratory he maintained at his jungle compound. According to a 2012 Wired profile, McAfee took a shine to the idea of researching natural antibiotics and hired a microbiologist to relocate to his compound from Boston and work in the lab he built.

Eventually, though, the microbiologist, Allison Adonizio, left Belize when she became uncomfortable at McAfee's compound. Adonizio told Wired that she thought McAfee had "turned into a very scary person" and was concerned about the armed men he had surrounding the property.

Then came the raid. The head of Belize's Gang Suppression Unit told Wired that the agency visited McAfee's compound in April 2012 after receiving "information to suggest that there may have been a meth laboratory at his location." The agency didn't find any illicit drugs, but did confiscate what it said were two unlicensed firearms and bottles of chemicals that they couldn't identify, according to the magazine.

Dual citizenship

McAfee was born in the United Kingdom to an American father and a British mother who met during World War II, according to the BBC. The family moved to Virginia when McAfee was young.

The software whiz has said he retains dual U.S.-British citizenship, which is notable given the small band of fringe, self-styled "strict constitutionalists" who argue that several Republican presidential candidates running in 2016 are ineligible to hold the nation's highest office.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who was also born abroad to one American and one foreign parent, officially renounced his Canadian citizenship last summer ahead of launching his own presidential bid.

Faking a heart attack to avoid deportation

A few weeks after he went underground to flee authorities in Belize who wanted to question him in his neighbor’s murder, McAfee emerged across the border in Guatemala, where he was arrested for entering the country illegally. One of the more bizarre incidents in what was already a bizarre story — and an international media spectacle — happened hours after Guatemalan authorities rejected McAfee’s request for asylum and ordered him to be deported back to Belize.

The software guru was rushed to a hospital in the Guatemalan capital, but his associates offered different explanations to the media as to what was going on with his health. McAfee's legal team initially said doctors were treating him for heart problems, but his chief attorney, Telesforo Guerra, a former attorney general in Guatemala, said his client suffered a nervous breakdown.

Once he was safely back on American soil, McAfee told reporters that he faked having a heart attack in order to buy time for his legal team to arrange his deportation to the U.S. rather than Belize.

About The Author

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Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.