In a late evening press release on Saturday, September 22, US Marshals announced they have received and taken custody of Cody Wilson at the International Airport in Houston. The 3D printed guns activist is charged in nearby Travis County for the alleged sexual assault of a female minor.
Wilson’s arrival marks the end of a multi-day, international search. It started on Wednesday, September 19, when a warrant (PDF) was issued for Wilson in Austin, Texas. Austin police revealed later that afternoon that the Defense Distributed founder had flown to Taipei, Taiwan earlier in the month (on September 6) but skipped his return flight after receiving a tip about the allegations.
On Thursday, September 20, Wilson was spotted trying to rent an apartment in Taipei. Wilson reportedly tried to pass himself off as an American student living in the city, and he even made an initial downpayment on a rental. But the rental agency ultimately recognized Wilson and called the authorities, leading to Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau to pick up the search.
Finally on Friday, September 21, Wilson was arrested. Taiwanese authorities had seen Wilson on hotel security monitors earlier in the day, around 3pm local time. They soon sent staff to wait outside the door, and Wilson eventually walked out three hours later. Wilson was arrested for illegally entering Taiwan after the US cancelled his passport (Google Translate).
Taipei police reportedly next handed Wilson over to the National Immigration Agency. Though Taiwan lacks an extradition agreement with the US, the NIA told media (Google Translate) they were quickly making arrangements to deport him back to the US.
“This was a collaborative effort that demonstrates the dedication of local, state, federal, and international officials working together to bring this fugitive to justice,” said Susan Pamerleau, US Marshal for the Western District of Texas, in the press release.
According to the USMS, Wilson will be transported and booked into the Harris County Jail located in Houston, where he will be turned over to state authorities to begin his judicial proceedings. His bond has been set at $ 150,000.
Update, 5p CT: Reporter Jenni Lee of KVUE spoke with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and learned that someone posted bail for Wilson this afternoon. Lee shared the news and video of Wilson arriving at the Harris County facility via Twitter.
UPDATE: #HarrisCountySheriffsOffice says someone has posted bond for Cody Wilson but he remains in custody. It’s unclear when he will be released bc they are so busy. He is charged w/sex assault & accused of paying a 16-yr-old $ 500 for sex. @KVUE pic.twitter.com/Ei4cVFyqrw
— Jenni Lee (@JenniL_KVUE) September 23, 2018
Shortly after news of Wilson’s bail, Defense Distributed confirmed the company will have a press release this coming Tuesday to address its current reality.
Press conference this Tuesday at 11 a.m. Location TBA. See you soon.
— Defense Distributed (@DefDist) September 23, 2018
Wilson founded the digital firearms company back in 2012, and he has been its public face ever since. When Ars visited the offices unannounced on Friday, Defense Distributed’s Stephen Sheftall said, “A management restructuring is coming,” but the company wasn’t prepared to comment further at that time.
Since news of Wilson’s situation broke last Wednesday, work at Defense Distributed has continued as normal: employees report to the office, orders of Ghost Gunner CNC mills and USB sticks continue to be processed online, and the company has kept fulfilling shipments.