3D gun developer Cody Wilson was brought back to the U.S. by federal agents and was handed over to state authorities in connection to a sexual assault charge.
Wilson, 30, was returned to the U.S. over the weekend from Taiwan after local immigration authorities reportedly took him into custody and expelled him from that country late last week. Booked into the Harris County Jail in Houston early Sunday, he was released on a $150,000 bond.
“We are glad that Cody is back in Texas again where we can work with him on his case,” said Wilson’s attorney, Samy Khalil of the Houston-based firm of Gerger, Halil and Hennessy. “That’s our focus right now, representing our client and preparing his defense.”
The head of Austin-based Defense Distributed, Wilson has been in the eye of a hurricane of controversy over downloadable gun files that could be completed through additive manufacturing processes such as 3D printers. Since 2013, he and allied pro-gun and free speech advocates have fought to be able to release the files, a prospect that was nearing a resolution through a planned settlement with the U.S. State and Justice Departments only to be halted last month by a court order brought by a collection of gun control advocates and state attorneys general.
Last week, his story took a new turn as authorities in Austin moved to charge him with having sex with a 16-year-old in August, which he met on an online dating site and gave $500 in cash to after their interaction. Believed tipped off by a friend of the minor, Wilson left the country for Taiwan. Although the Formosa-based country does not have a formal extradition treaty with the U.S., they moved to keep tabs on Wilson once it was known he was in Taiwan.
As for Defense Distributed, technology website Ars Technica reported that the company has often operated in Wilson’s absence in the past and, for now at least, it is still business as usual, although DefDist’s Stephen Sheftall was quoted by the publication as saying, “A management restructuring is coming.”
The company’s main products — the Ghost Gunner desktop milling machine, designed to complete AR-15 lowers from 80-percent blanks and 3D gun files through the organization’s DefCAD site— are both still listed as available.
DefDist plans a press conference for Tuesday.