Gun rights activist Cody Wilson reportedly fled from Texas to Taiwan after getting tipped off that he was going to be charged for allegedly paying a 16-year-old girl $500 for sex. But now local news outlets in Taiwan report that he has been captured.
Citing an Apple Daily report, English-language Taiwan News said that Wilson was arrested today and will be transferred to Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau. He’ll later be sent to the National Immigration Agency, according to the paper, before presumably being deported. It’s not immediately clear if or when Wilson will be transferred to American authorities since Taiwan does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.
The charges against Wilson were announced by Texas police on Wednesday and include sexual assault of a child, a second degree felony. Wilson allegedly met a 16-year-old girl on the website SugarDaddyMeet.com and arranged to meet her at a coffee shop in Austin before bringing her to a hotel where authorities say they had sexual intercourse and oral sex.
Wilson allegedly gave the teen five $100 bills and was captured on surveillance video with the girl at both the coffee shop and the hotel. The license plate of the car at both locations reportedly matched a vehicle registered to Wilson’s company, Defense Distributed.
According to the local news in Taiwan, Wilson was staying at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Taipei on September 6th but checked out on the 7th. He reportedly tried to rent an apartment in Taiwan but was recognized by a local as the man who was wanted in Texas. From Taiwan News:
Wilson had paid the first month’s rent of NT$19,000 (US$620) and a deposit of NT$18,000 on Thursday afternoon, but he failed to turn up at the agreed time around Friday noon to take possession of the keys for the apartment, possibly aware that he had become a wanted man in Taiwan as well.
Wilson, head of a company called Defense Distributed that has donated generously to Ted Cruz, has become the focus of national news over the past year for his run-ins with the federal government. He was ordered by a judge to stop distributing blueprints for 3D-printed guns but continued to do so as of August.
Conspiracy theories concerning this case have appeared online, with some in the gun rights community suggesting that Wilson is being set up for opposing the government. But even some of his most ardent defenders recognize that it’s hard to dispute the allegations if Wilson really was caught on camera in two different locations with the 16-year-old girl, including at the hotel room where they allegedly had sex.