Tiger King star Bhagavan “Doc” Antle has been billed with federal funds laundering crimes involving cash that allegedly arrived from an operation to smuggle illegal immigrants from Mexico to the U.S., the Office of Justice (DOJ) said Monday.
Antle, a controversial wild animal coach who owns the Myrtle Beach front Safari in South Carolina, was arrested by the FBI on Friday. One of his personnel and company associates, Omar Sawyer, was also taken into custody.
Antle was featured in the preferred 2020 Netflix documentary collection that uncovered abuse inside of non-public zoo operations and the exotic pet trade. The series targeted mainly on Oklahoma zoo operator Joe Unique, who has been accused of mistreating animals and was convicted in a legal plot to destroy his enemy, Carole Baskin.
The DOJ reported Tuesday that around the very last four months, Antle and Sawyer laundered $505,000 in income they thought to be the proceeds of a plot to smuggle unlawful immigrants across the Southern border.
The two carried our their procedure by supplying checks from two separate firms that falsely claimed they had been remitted for building operate performed at the Myrtle Beach Safari, in accordance to the DOJ. In actuality, the checks were being a way to make it possible for the recipients to look to have genuine profits, and in trade, Antle and Sawyer received a 15 % rate of all laundered revenue.
“The complaint alleges that Antle talked about his system to conceal the dollars he obtained by inflating tourist figures at the Myrtle Beach Safari, and that in the earlier he experienced employed bulk funds receipts to invest in animals for which he could not use checks,” the DOJ additional in an announcement.
Antle and Sawyer are at this time getting detained at the J. Reuben Very long Detention Heart in Conway, South Carolina, and now facial area a optimum of 20 yrs in federal jail.
This does not mark the initial time Antle has faced prison fees. The 62-year-outdated is also facing two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife trafficking rates, as nicely as 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and animal cruelty expenses tied to trafficking lion cubs, according to the Related Press.
A spokesperson for Persons for the Moral Remedy of Animal (PETA), which has lengthy condemned Antle’s therapy of animals, advised the news outlet previously this week that the fees against him are “fitting.”
“It truly is fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is powering bars right after a long time of locking up the endangered animals he makes use of in tawdry image ops. His authorized woes are mounting,” claimed Debbie Metzler, affiliate director of PETA’s Captive Animal Legislation Enforcement division.