Austin man at cen­ter of 3D-printed gun de­bate is ar­rested in Tai­wan

Austin po­lice had filed sex­ual as­sault charges against Cody Wil­son.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Wil­son md­wil­[email protected]­

Two days af­ter author­i­ties filed sex­ual as­sault charges against Cody Wil­son, the Austin man at the cen­ter of the na­tional de­bate over 3D-printed guns, Tai­wanese law en­force­ment of­fi­cials took him into cus­tody in that coun­try’s cap­i­tal with plans to re­turn him to the United States.

Wil­son was ar­rested in the Wan­hua Dis­trict of Taipei, Tai­wanese me­dia re­ported.

Ac­cord­ing to Tai­wan News, Wil­son had checked into the Man­darin Ori­en­tal Ho­tel for one day af­ter he ar­rived in the coun­try be­fore mov­ing to an­other lo­ca­tion.

Me­dia re­ports said a real es­tate agent no­ti­fied author­i­ties that Wil­son had signed a six-month rental agree­ment for a stu­dio in the area af­ter learn­ing of the charges against him on TV.

Ac­cord­ing to The As­so­ci­ated Press, Tai­wan’s Cen­tral News Agency re­ported that po­lice found Wil­son at a ho­tel Fri­day evening, and that im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials would send him back to the U.S. as soon as pos­si­ble.

Austin po­lice is­sued a war­rant for Wil­son’s ar­rest Tues­day, al­leg­ing the maker of 3D-printed guns had sex with a 16-year-old girl he met through the dat­ing web­site Su­garDad­

A coun­selor came for­ward to in­ves­ti­ga­tors Aug. 22 to re­port that the girl told her she’d had sex with a 30-yearold man Aug. 15. The girl also said the man paid her $500, po­lice said.

Dur­ing a foren­sic in­ter­view in late Au­gust, the girl told po­lice she used an ac­count she cre­ated on the dat­ing site to ex­change mes­sages with Wil­son, who went by the user­name “San­juro.”

Af­ter mes­sag­ing on­line, the two be­gan to ex­change text mes­sages.

“Dur­ing this con­ver­sa­tion, ‘San­juro’ iden­ti­fied him­self as ‘Cody Wil­son.’ Vic­tim said that ‘San­juro’ de­scribed him­self to the vic­tim as a ‘big deal,’” Wil­son’s ar­rest af­fi­davit says.

Ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit, both Wil­son and the girl sent nude pho­tos to each other. They even­tu­ally met at Bennu Cof­fee on South Congress Av­enue and went to a North Austin ho­tel where they had sex.

Po­lice ob­tained sur­veil­lance footage that showed Wil­son at the lo­ca­tions where the girl said they had been, along with records that showed Wil­son rented a room at the ho­tel.

Austin po­lice had planned to ar­rest Wil­son at his home in the 10 days be­fore news of the charges against him broke. How­ever, they called off the op­er­a­tion af­ter find­ing out that Wil­son was not in the U.S.

Austin po­lice Cmdr. Troy Of­fi­cer said in­ves­ti­ga­tors were aware of his last-known where­abouts in Taipei, and that he missed a planned re­turn flight home.

While Of­fi­cer said he didn’t know why Wil­son had gone to Tai­wan, author­i­ties knew that a friend of the al­leged vic­tim had told Wil­son she had spo­ken to po­lice.

Wil­son will re­turn to Texas to stand trial for sex­ual as­sault. The charge is a sec­ond-de­gree felony pun­ish­able by two to 10 years in pri­son and a fine of up to $10,000.

Wil­son rock­eted to na­tional promi­nence in 2012 af­ter an­nounc­ing plans to de­sign and build the first gun made on a 3D printer from durable plas­tic. He com­pleted that weapon — dubbed the Lib­er­a­tor — about a year later and posted schemat­ics of the gun on­line.

The move set a le­gal pen­du­lum in mo­tion that has rocked back and forth for the past few years.

The State Depart­ment first or­dered him to take the plans down, say­ing that they vi­o­lated fed­eral laws against ex­port­ing weapons or de­signs to other coun­tries. In turn, Wil­son sued, claim­ing he and his com­pany De­fense Dis­trib­uted had a First Amend­ment right to pub­lish the plans.

Ear­lier this year, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion set­tled Wil­son’s case and al­lowed him to post the plans. But then, of­fi­cials from 19 states filed an­other law­suit to keep the blue­prints un­der wraps, say­ing they were a threat to na­tional se­cu­rity and pub­lic safety.

In­stead of post­ing the plans, Wil­son opted to sell them on­line, say­ing a Seat­tle judge’s rul­ing in sup­port of the mul­ti­state suit only barred him from pub­lish­ing the blue­prints for free.

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