Tracking down a fugitive: retired U.S. marshal explains how it works

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The international hunt is over for Cody Wilson, the Austin man charged with sexual assault who was arrested in Taiwan last week.

Wilson gained national attention when he took on the federal government over blueprints for a 3D printed gun. Investigators with the United States Marshals Service found and arrested Wilson in Taipei, Taiwan on Friday.

We spoke with retired marshal Hector Gomez for perspective on tracking down fugitives. Gomez says once a task force is giving orders to find a suspect, they get to work with intelligence, “piecing together the investigation is: who he knows, where’s he’s been and we look at travel patterns, passports, credit card activity.”

Gomez says even though Wilson was found in Taiwan, which does not have an official extradition treaty or agreement with the United States, getting him back to Texas could have been tricky.

“In this particular case, or any case similar to this, it’s the United States asking a country we don’t have an agreement with, ‘Can you please hand over fugitive X because he is wanted here in the United States for crime Y and here are the supporting documents, here are the pictures, the fingerprints,’ all the supporting documentation that will satisfy that country,” Gomez said.

The retired marshal says the country may, with the information provided, say, “You know what? Maybe we don’t want this individual here as well.” 

The process could take a long time but in the case of Wilson, it was a matter of days before he was brought back to Texas to face the charges against him.

“Yes, it was quick but I can only guess the Taiwanese entities that were involved have no reason to want to have someone allegedly charged with sexual assault in their country,” says Gomez.

Wilson is out of jail on bond.

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