The Gang Suppression Unit (G.S.U.)â€™s trademark roughness has made news once again, but this time their unsuspecting, early morning target was John McAfee, 66, the antivirus-software pioneer, investor and philanthropist.
The GSU, joined by the Belize Defense Force officers and the Belize Special Assignments Group (B-SAG), raided McAfeeâ€™s Orange Walk home just outside of the entrance of the Tower Hill Toll Bridge at 6:00 Monday morning, April 30.
After an extensive search of McAfeeâ€™s compound, which also houses his Belize Ecological FoundationÂ Ltd, the G.S.U. came up practically empty.
Nevertheless, McAfee and his employees who were on the compound at the time of the raid were handcuffed for about 14 hours before he was taken to the Queen Street Police Station, where an attempt was made to charge him for possession of an unlicensed gun as there was some misunderstanding over its paperwork.
But, after a back and forth between the police at the station and a Counselor Officer from the United States Embassy, McAfee was eventually released without any charge.
In an interview with The Reporter, McAfee said he had given the G.S.U. all the licenses, but miraculously one of the licenses went missing.
â€œWhy would I have an unlicensed firearm in a country with such severe laws against firearm?â€
McAfee then chronicled the brutish Â raid.
He said he was awakened by the sound of a megaphone and loud voices.
â€œThere was a lot of confusion and chaos… I went outside naked because I was alarmed.
â€œI thought that some gang was attacking us. What I saw were vehicles and soldiers with automatic weapons at the ready. Later I learned that there were 42 of them: 15 G.S.U. and 27 B.D.F.â€
He said that by the time he managed to put on a pair of short pants, the officers were already inside his house.
â€œI was shown a search warrant, but not given a chance to read it, because my hands were cuffed behind my back and I was pushed up against the wall,â€ he recalled.
McAfee said at the same time he saw the G.S.U. officers breaking down the doors.
â€œThis is odd, because we have nine houses on the property and they are never locked, because we have security guards and dogs and the property is fenced.â€
McAfee said he also has security guards who wore blue uniforms soÂ that they can be easily identified.
He also pointed out that one of the officers also shot and killed one of his guard dogs.
â€œIâ€™ve been severely mistreated. We were given no food, no water, … One woman asked for food and a G.S.U. officer asked her if he looks like a cook,â€ he said.
â€œCan you imagine a man like me having forty-two soldiers storming in my house? Iâ€™ve been severely violated.â€
McAfee said he has donated over a million dollars to the police in various stations throughout the country.
He thinks his problems may have its genesis in his refusal to donate to a defeated politician.
â€œIf this can happen to me, it can happen to any American tourist. I love this country and I will not leave. Those responsible will be held accountable. It will not stand.â€
The G.S.U., however, issued its own press release on the raid, which said in part:
â€œMcAfee was initially detained and charged for the offences of keeping unlicensed firearm and ammunition, but was later released after producing a license for the said firearm to the Police. This aspect is still under investigation as no such licence has yet been found in the records at Police Headquarters.â€
The police also reported that â€œanalysts at the Forensic Laboratory, and personnel from the Ministry of Health were taken to inspect the facility and samples of an alleged antibiotic apparently being manufactured at the Laboratory were taken for analysis.â€
Regarding the latter accusation, McAfee said he was not manufacturing antibiotics, which would require hundreds of millions of dollars and dozens of scientists in a very sanitized laboratory.
â€œI was making antiseptic, which is something like alcohol that you put on your skin. Its absurd to think that I would be making antibiotics. The lab shut down 18 months ago when the senior researcher quit. The building was made into a storeroom.â€
â€œClearly the G.S.U. is fabricating a story. I spent all the time outside in handcuffs. This caused me great embarrassment, when all the U.S. tourists see me like this.â€
TheÂ G.S.U. release ended saying: â€œAt the conclusion, Emerson Michael, 33; Austin Allen, 46, and Emerson Dominguez, 23,Â (all Belizeans) were arrested and charged for â€œproviding security services without a license.â€
McAfee is a United States citizen and Belize resident, who says he tries to always give back to the country and therefore only hires Belizean workers.
He currently employs over 85 Belizeans, including the two contractors who were also detained during Mondayâ€™s raid.
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