Austin, TX – An international manhunt for a man who took off to Taiwan amid allegations that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl has ended in an arrest.
Cody Wilson, the owner of a Texas company that produces blueprints to create 3D printed firearms, was apprehended by Taiwan authorities on Friday at a hotel in Taipei, CNN reported.
Following Taiwanese deportation proceedings, Wilson, 30, was transported back to Texas, and landed in Houston on Saturday night, according to KPRC.
He was taken back to Austin on Sunday, and is being held on $150,000 bond, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
"This was a collaborative effort that demonstrates the dedication of local, state, federal and international officials working together to bring this fugitive to justice,” U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas Susan Pamerleau said.
The reason for Wilson’s travel to Taiwan was unclear, but investigators were aware that one of the victim’s friends had told Wilson he was under investigation, Austin Police Commander Troy Officer said during a press conference on Wednesday, according to FOX News.
Wilson also frequently traveled there for business, the commander said.
After Wilson missed his scheduled return flight to the United States, U.S. and international law enforcement agencies began working together in a joint effort to locate him.
Wilson allegedly met the teen through the website SugarDaddyMeet, and the two began exchanging messages online, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Wilson registered his account under the username “Sanjuro,” according to investigators.
“During this conversation, ‘Sanjuro’ identified himself as ‘Cody Wilson,’” an arrest affidavit read, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “[The] victim said that ‘Sanjuro’ described himself to the victim as a ‘big deal.’”
The teen texted him nude photos of herself, and Wilson sent her pictures of his penis, according to court documents.
Detectives asserted that “if someone mistakes [the alleged victim’s] age, it would be because they think she’s younger, not older, than the 16-year-old that she is,” Cmdr. Officer noted, according to FOX News.
On Aug. 15, Wilson and the girl met up at a coffee shop in South Austin, then traveled to the Archer Hotel in his 2015 Ford Edge, she later told police, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
The teen said she and Wilson had sex, then he paid her $500 and dropped her off at a Whataburger.
Austin police were notified of the sexual assault by the girl’s counselor on Aug. 22, and corroborated her account through surveillance footage and hotel records, according to court documents.
A warrant for felony second-degree sexual assault was subsequently issued.
Wilson became well-known in 2012, when he announced his plan to be the first to use a 3D printer to create a functioning firearm.
He said he planned to release the final blueprints and instructions to the public, which would allow anyone with access to the technology to have the ability to produce a firearm.
In 2013, he created a single-shot pistol as planned, and posted the blueprints online.
The U.S. State Department immediately ordered Wilson to remove the post, and said it violated federal laws against providing certain firearm or weapon designs to foreign countries.
Wilson sued the U.S. State Department for violation of his right to free speech, and the Trump administration agreed to allow him to post his weapon designs earlier in 2018.
In response, 19 states filed lawsuits decrying the public release of the blueprints, which they argued presented a danger to citizens and national security.
In August, a federal judge in Seattle blocked him from publishing the plans, so Wilson began selling them offline to avoid the online distribution prohibited by the court.
"I will continue to fight anyone who will try to sue me and say that I can't do this," Wilson said at the time, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
If convicted of sexual assault, Wilson faces up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.