Cody Wilson, the founder of a controversial 3-D gun printing company, has been arrested in Taiwan on child sexual-assault charges.
Wilson, 30, is accused of paying a 16-year-old girl for sex in Austin, Texas. When police announced the charges on Wednesday, Wilson was out of the country. Police alleged that he had skipped a return trip from Thailand after learning that he was under investigation. His brief stint as a fugitive ended on Friday, when Taiwan police arrested him at a hotel, BuzzFeed reported.
Authorities say they do not know whether Wilson, who often travels for work, went to Taiwan to avoid arrest. The country does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S.
A statement by Taiwan's National Immigration Agency, translated by BuzzFeed, said Wilson had checked into a luxury hotel in Taipei, but checked out early on September 7. A local news report translated by BuzzFeed claimed Wilson had signed a six-month contract for a small apartment in Taipei on Wednesday, the same day his charges were announced in Texas. The Taiwan News reported that Wilson missed a scheduled meeting to pick up his apartment keys, suggesting he knew police were looking for him.
The real-estate agent Wilson worked with later recognized him from news reports, and called police. An American immigration agency in Taiwan reportedly cancelled Wilson’s passport, giving Taiwanese authorities grounds to arrest him for lack of travel documents.
BuzzFeed reported that Wilson confirmed his identity when confronted by local police. He is expected to be deported back to the U.S.
Wilson’s fame catapulted his case to international news.
The founder of a company that sells blueprints for 3-D printed guns, Wilson has been engaged in a years-long legal battle with the federal government over the company’s legality. Last year, he founded Hatreon, a crowdfunding site he later described as “the #1 funding platform for the Alt Right.” Wilson has also been an outspoken figure in cryptocurrency and anarcho-capitalist circles, despite donating thousands to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
Wilson likely could have remained in Taiwan indefinitely. His rent on the Taipei apartment was $620 a month, the Taiwan News reported. But Wilson is a Bitcoin millionaire.
Bitcoin transaction records first reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center, reveal that on Aug. 16, Wilson cashed out 60 Bitcoin wallets, transferring nearly $1 million in Bitcoin to a new account. He is accused of sexually assaulting the 16-year-old on Aug. 15.