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Report: 3D printed gun advocate accused of paying minor for sex is arrested in Taiwan

mySA logo mySA 9/21/2018 Caleb Downs, San Antonio Express-News
Cody Wilson poses for a portrait in the Defense Distributed office in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. The founder of Defense Distributed, Wilson has been in a long legal dispute regarding his ability to post the instructions to create 3-D printed firearms on his website. (Lynda M. Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP) © Lynda M. Gonzalez, MBO / Associated Press Cody Wilson poses for a portrait in the Defense Distributed office in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. The founder of Defense Distributed, Wilson has been in a long legal dispute regarding his ability to post the instructions to create 3-D printed firearms on his website. (Lynda M. Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Cody Wilson, a 3D printed gun advocate who was accused this week of paying a 16-year-old girl $500 after having sex with her, was arrested Friday in Taiwan, local media reports.

Taiwanese authorities arrested Wilson, 30, at about 6 p.m. at a restaurant in Taipei, according to the Central News Agency. Austin police previously said they were working in concert with international law enforcement agencies to capture Wilson and return him to Travis County for prosecution.

RELATED: 3-D printed gun advocate fled to Taiwan after tip that he'd been accused of having sex with minor

The 3D printed gun maven and owner of the Austin-based company Defense Distributed was wanted on a charge of sexual assault of a child. According to his arrest warrant, Wilson met the 16-year-old victim on SugarDaddyMeet.com, exchanged nude photos with her and, on Aug. 15, took her to an Austin hotel, had sex with her and then paid her $500 before dropping her off at a Whataburger.

The victim later told a counselor about Wilson's alleged actions, and the counselor alerted police. Before authorities could arrest Wilson in Travis County, Wilson was apparently tipped off by one of the victim's friends. He was in Taiwan when the allegations were made public and didn't get on a return flight home.

Wilson first caught the public's attention in 2013, when he created the first gun made from plastic using a 3D printer and put the blueprints for the weapon online, to be downloaded for free by anybody.

RELATED: Drive-by shooting, car chase riles Converse neighborhood

He was shut down by the U.S. State Department, which cited a federal law prohibiting the sale of certain weapons and firearm designs to other countries. Wilson responded with a free speech lawsuit, claiming that he and his company, Defense Distributed, had a First Amendment right to distribute the plans. The federal government relented, but then 19 states and the District of Columbia filed lawsuits to stop Wilson, calling printable guns a safety threat because they lack serial numbers and could pass unnoticed through metal detectors.

A judge granted a restraining order against Wilson and extended it last month. Wilson then announced that he would load the blueprints onto flash drives and sell them by mail.

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Caleb Downs is a crime reporter for mySA.com. Read more of his stories here.| cdowns@mysa.com | Twitter: @calebjdowns

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