The high-profile leader of an effort to distribute digital gun plans is now wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service on sexual assault charges.
Cody Wilson, head of Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed, which is geared to supply 3D firearm files and desktop milling units, is the focus of a criminal investigation concerning a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl, a felony in the state.
Troy Officer, the commander of the Austin Police’s organized crime division, said the department was working with national and international authorities as well as the U.S. Marshals to take Wilson into custody.
“Today Mr. Wilson is not in custody and his last known location by the Austin Police Department is Taipei, Taiwan,” said Officer in a press conference. “We also know that Mr. Wilson missed a scheduled flight back to the United States.”
Officer said that, while Wilson was known to travel extensively, authorities did not know the reason for his trip to Taiwan but did note that he was told by a friend of the reported victim that police were investigating the incident before he left the country. According to the U.S. State Department, there is no extradition treaty in force between Taiwan and the United States.
Officer said they have not interviewed Wilson in the case but have corroborated the account of the teen through surveillance video from the locations where she met with the 31-year old self-professed crypto-anarchist. The video captured Wilson’s vehicle, a 2015 Ford Edge, and license plate number.
Police say the two met through SugarDaddyMeet.com, which boasts 1.6 million members and bills itself as matching rich and successful men such as “professionals, financiers, benefactors” with young women such as “classy college students, aspiring actresses or models.” After sex, Wilson, a vocal cryptocurrency advocate, gave the unidentified minor $500 in cash.
For the past half-decade, Wilson has been a polarizing figure in the gun community, especially where it intersects with Free Speech rights. After developing and publishing plans for the Liberator, a single-shot mostly plastic gun capable of being manufactured on a 3D printer in 2013, he locked horns with the State Department over the legality of posting the files for an international audience.
After a lengthy legal battle, in which he allied with a Second Amendment organization to fight the arms control regulation in federal court, a planned settlement last month was upended by a further challenge from gun control advocates and more than a dozen state attorneys general who contend posting the plans would endanger public safety. Wilson has counter-sued, arguing the states and advocates are on a shaky legal footing.
Now, with him out of the country and facing charges at home, groups ranging from the Newtown Action Alliance to Moms Demand Action and NoRA are using the allegations in an effort to take the high ground on the conversation against 3D printed guns. “This is exactly why we NEED background checks on all guns,” noted NoRA. “Any accused abuser-especially child abusers-should not have access to untraceable weapons.”
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who has spearheaded the recent drive to keep the lid on Wilson’s file distribution plans, said Tuesday, “Department of Justice, you are fighting my office in court to allow THIS individual to distribute untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed guns over the internet. Why? This might be a good time to reconsider.”
“Department of Justice, you are fighting my office in court to allow THIS individual to distribute untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed guns over the internet. Why? This might be a good time to reconsider.” -BF https://t.co/ibHxMuaiWj
— WA Attorney General (@AGOWA) September 19, 2018
As for Wilson, he has gone silent across both his personal and business social media accounts, which were still active as of Thursday.