Tiger King star Bhagavan “Doc” Antle has been charged with federal income laundering crimes involving hard cash that allegedly arrived from an operation to smuggle illegal immigrants from Mexico to the U.S., the Office of Justice (DOJ) reported Monday.
Antle, a controversial wild animal coach who owns the Myrtle Seaside Safari in South Carolina, was arrested by the FBI on Friday. One particular of his staff and company associates, Omar Sawyer, was also taken into custody.
Antle was showcased in the well-known 2020 Netflix documentary sequence that uncovered abuse inside of non-public zoo operations and the exotic pet trade. The sequence targeted largely on Oklahoma zoo operator Joe Unique, who has been accused of mistreating animals and was convicted in a criminal plot to destroy his enemy, Carole Baskin.
The DOJ claimed Tuesday that around the previous 4 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 operation by supplying checks from two separate organizations that falsely claimed they were remitted for construction get the job done executed at the Myrtle Beach Safari, according to the DOJ. In actuality, the checks ended up a way to allow the recipients to look to have legit profits, and in trade, Antle and Sawyer received a 15 p.c price of all laundered funds.
“The criticism alleges that Antle talked about his prepare to conceal the funds he acquired by inflating tourist figures at the Myrtle Seashore Safari, and that in the earlier he experienced used bulk hard cash receipts to acquire animals for which he could not use checks,” the DOJ included in an announcement.
Antle and Sawyer are currently becoming detained at the J. Reuben Very long Detention Centre in Conway, South Carolina, and now encounter a utmost of 20 decades in federal prison.
This does not mark the very first time Antle has confronted legal expenses. The 62-yr-aged is also experiencing two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife trafficking costs, as well as 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and animal cruelty prices tied to trafficking lion cubs, according to the Associated Push.
A spokesperson for Folks for the Moral Cure of Animal (PETA), which has prolonged condemned Antle’s cure of animals, told the news outlet earlier this week that the charges against him are “fitting.”
“It is really fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is driving bars right after several years of locking up the endangered animals he makes use of in tawdry image ops. His lawful woes are mounting,” mentioned Debbie Metzler, associate director of PETA’s Captive Animal Law Enforcement division.