Know that if I hang myself, a la Epstein, it will be no fault of mine. – John McAfee
John Mcafee died in a prison cell in Barcelona on June 23, according to authorities in Spain. The National Court, earlier in the day, had approved Mcafee’s extradition to the United States where he faced charges related to taxes, wire fraud, and securities fraud.
Mcafee contributed relatively little to the information security sector after his resignation from McAfee Associates in the 1990s. He played an active role in the promotion of various cryptocurrencies and ICOs. His promotions, according to the United States government, often constituted securities fraud. A seven-count indictment filed accused Mcafee and one co-conspirator of the following crimes:
- one count of conspiracy to commit commodities and securities fraud;
- one count of conspiracy to commit securities and touting fraud;
- two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud;
- two counts of substantive wire fraud;
- and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
In a different indictment filed in a Tennessee court, the U.S. government accused McAfee of evading taxes by failing to file tax returns from 2014 to 2018. During this time, McAfee received “considerable income” from his cryptocurrency shilling.
While living in Belize, McAfee started the company QuorumEx, “which aimed to produce herbal antibiotics that disrupt quorum sensing in bacteria.” However, instead of antibiotics, McAfee’s lab pumped out large quantities of the stimulant MDPV. McAfee’s lengthy posts on the harm reduction forum Bluelight under the username StuffMonger provided insight into his life in the country. He described his experiences with the substance as well as various details about the synthesis of MDPV. Many have suggested that the posts reflected the mental state of someone under the influence of recreational stimulant use. He also seemed to believe that certain bacteria had a role in the production of quality MDPV:
“Yes, well… I never suggested that it was acetobacteria, and specifically mentioned that I believed it was a strain of pseudomonas. Someone else suggested acetobacteria. You need to read the whole thread, I think if you really want answers. As to the growth medium, why would you care? Nowhere in the instructions for making this did I suggest a growth medium nor do you need one.
Bacteria do not need sugar to obtain energy for activation. Neither are large numbers required. There’s not a square inch of your body, your floor, your walls, your clothes, or any other part of your environment that does not contain millions of bacteria. Psuedomonas Aeruginosa is one of the most common bacteria on the planet, and there’s not a square foot of anything around you that is not rife with them. Carbon, sodium, oxygen, and hydrogen are present in large amounts in the soup leftover from the freebase process, and I believe that those elements are more than sufficient, given the massive added organic particulates present in all breathable atmospheres, to grow damn near anything.
As to my competence, or lack thereof, with the gear in my lab – that’s a matter that affects my own work, and should not impact your life in any way. The acetate of PV is very soluble. The acetate of the dark yellow stuff is not. Haven’t done any other salts. Have at it. I’d like to know myself.
Eventually, he had to flee Belize after the government had accused him of murdering his neighbor. Only months before the murder of McAfee’s neighbor, the Gang Suppression Unit of the Belize Police Department raided McAfee at his home for the illicit production of a stimulant. At the time, MDPV was legal in Belize and McAfee faced no charges as a result of the raid. Months later, somebody had murdered McAfee’s neighbor. Here is a presser from local law enforcement:
On Sunday the 11th November 2012 at 8:00 am acting upon information received, San Pedro Police visited 5 ¾ miles North of San Pedro Town where they saw 52-year-old U.S National Mr. GREGORY VIANT FAULL, of the said address, lying face up in a pool of blood with an apparent gunshot wound on the upper rear part of his head apparently dead. Initial investigation revealed that on the said date at 7:20 am LUARA TUN, 39 years, Belizean Housekeeper of Boca Del Rio Area, San Pedro Town went to the house of Mr. Faull to do her daily chores when she saw him laying inside of the hall motionless, Faull was last seen alive around 10:00 pm on 10.11.12 and he lived alone. No signs of forced entry were seen, A (1) laptop computer brand and serial number unknown, and (1) I-Phone was discovered missing. The body was found in the hall of the upper flat of the house. A single luger brand 9 mm expended shells were found at the first stairs leading up to the upper flat of the building. The body of Faull was taken to KHMH Morgue where it awaits a Post Mortem Examination. Police have not established a motive so far but are following several leads.
Prior to the death of McAfee’s neighbor, someone had killed all of McAfee’s dogs; McAfee found them in pain and vomiting blood. He had to put them out of their misery.
Joshua Davis, of Wired, wrote a summary of what happened next:
Still on the phone with me, McAfee is searching for clues to explain the dead dogs and has noticed that the fence around his property is surrounded by boot prints—“military-style boot prints,” he says—and cites this as evidence that the police were involved. “I’m a paranoid person,” he says. “I really am. But the whole thing is looking really weird to me.”
I point out that his neighbors had been complaining about the barking. In August, Vivian Yu, operator of a bar and restaurant up the beach, asked one of McAfee’s guards to do something to control the 11 dogs that roamed his property. McAfee hired a carpenter to build a fence to corral them.
Greg Faull, a neighbor two houses to the south on Ambergris Caye, was particularly incensed by the racket and aggression of McAfee’s mutts. Faull was a big man—5'11”, around 220 pounds—who owned a sports bar in Orlando, Florida, and spent part of the year in Belize. It was a tropical paradise to him, except for the nuisance McAfee’s dogs created. They growled and barked incessantly at anybody who walked by on the beach.
Faull had confronted McAfee about the animals in the past. According to McAfee, Faull once threatened to shoot them, but McAfee didn’t believe he’d do it. Allison Adonizio, who had stayed at Greg Faull’s house when she first moved to Belize in 2010, says there was bad blood between the two men back then. “McAfee hated his guts,” she wrote in an email to me.
Earlier in the week, Faull had filed a formal complaint about the dogs with the mayor’s office in the nearby town of San Pedro. Now, as I try to catch up on the latest details, McAfee dismisses the suggestion that any of his neighbors could have been involved in the apparent poisoning of the animals. “They’re still dog lovers,” he says. “And I talked to them this morning. No one here would ever poison the dogs.”
He speaks specifically about Faull. “This is not something he would ever do,” McAfee says. “I mean, he’s an angry sort of guy, but he would never hurt a dog.”
On Sunday morning, Faull is found lying faceup in a pool of blood. He’s been shot once through the back of the head, execution-style. A 9-mm Luger casing lies on the ground nearby. There are no signs of forced entry. A laptop and an iPhone are missing, police say.
McAfee escaped Belize. He was later caught by law enforcement in Guatemala where he awaited extradition. Media outlets reported that McAfee had experienced at least one heart attack while in custody. McAfee’s attorney said that McAfee had only experienced a bout of anxiety linked to high blood pressure and stress. McAfee later revealed that he had faked the episodes in order to give his attorney time to file paperwork that stalled his extradition to Belize. Guatemala McAfee to the United States. To this day, the murder case in Belize remains open.
Between the Belize murder case and his apparent death in custody in Spain, McAfee led a full life. He posted regular videos from a boat that he claimed was in international waters. In many of these videos, McAfee and his wife displayed firearms, including an AR-style pistol with an ATF-complaint pistol brace; something that makes very little sense to use if outside the jurisdiction of United States law enforcement (which, if the FBI’s recent case reveals anything, might actually be worldwide in many cases).
He ran for President as a Libertarian candidate in 2016 but later claimed the run was a publicity stunt.
McAfee eventually developed a name for himself in the cryptocurrency scene on Twitter. He regularly pumped out glowing endorsements of Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). He later admitted the obvious; that he accepted large sums of cash to promote an ICO to his 1+ million followers.
He went on to promote and directly associate himself with BitFi, the maker of an “unhackable” hardware wallet. After many penetration testers demonstrated their ability to hack the wallet, McAfee kept changing the definition of the company’s definition of the word “hacked” just to avoid paying out bounties and admitting defeat.
The company later removed the unhackable claim from their website. The company’s latest offering, the BitFi 2, claims that it is the “…only wallet that cannot be seized, stolen or confiscated.” This is obviously false; the United States government will seize anything they want, including foreign news websites.
During this time, McAfee vocally expressed his issues with the federal government’s income tax. He admitted to avoiding taxes for a number of years. The government later charged him with failing to pay taxes between 2014 and 2018. Another indictment accused McAfee of committing securities fraud by promoting the ICOs without disclosing his role as a paid shill.
Even though McAfee had a boat, he attempted to get on a plane in Barcelona, Spain. McAfee knew he had an international arrest warrant for the charges in the United States. As any reasonable person could have predicted, authorities arrested McAfee at the airport. He remained in a cell in Spain while fighting his extradition to the United States.
After all his appeals failed, Spains Audiencia Nacional (National Court) approved the extradition. Hours later, authorities at the detention center found McAfee dead in his cell. They are conducting an investigation but have hinted at suicide being the cause of death. If suicide was the cause of death, McAfee joins the ranks of others in the tech world who apparently killed themselves prior to extradition to the United States; death is surely preferable to the United States prison system, especially McAfee’s age.
There is some controversy surrounding his death, however. Although it would seem as if McAfee had cause to take his own life, the man has publicly claimed that he would not commit suicide. In his exact words, “know that if I hang myself, a la Epstein, it will be no fault of mine.”
McAfee was generally opposed to the size and overreach of the United States government. He seemingly opposed the general anarcho-tyranny in the country. And he believed these beliefs made him a political or ideological prisoner. The National Court refuted these allegations, writing that no evidence of “persecution motivated by political, ideological, or similar reasons” existed “beyond the verbal allegations” of McAfee. It seems unlikely that McAfee was important enough to the United States government to murder for ideological purposes. Although, as some users of internet forums have speculated, it is perhaps possible that McAfee knew the secrets of some of the current elites in the country.
One of the only indications that the theory is worth considering is from media outlets in the United States. Many members of the American Pravda, including Business Insider and MSN, ran stories linking the theory (perhaps exclusively) to so-called “Q-anon supporters.”
There will likely always be disagreement over the true cause of McAfee’s death. The working theory seems to be that he was too much of a charlatan to warrant such drastic action from the United States government or the class of elites with the power to suicide someone.