Tiger King star Bhagavan “Doc” Antle has been billed with federal income laundering crimes involving hard cash that allegedly arrived from an operation to smuggle unlawful immigrants from Mexico to the U.S., the Division of Justice (DOJ) claimed Monday.
Antle, a controversial wild animal trainer who owns the Myrtle Seaside Safari in South Carolina, was arrested by the FBI on Friday. One particular of his personnel and enterprise associates, Omar Sawyer, was also taken into custody.
Antle was featured in the well-known 2020 Netflix documentary collection that uncovered abuse in non-public zoo operations and the unique pet trade. The series centered mostly on Oklahoma zoo operator Joe Exotic, who has been accused of mistreating animals and was convicted in a criminal plot to get rid of his enemy, Carole Baskin.
The DOJ said Tuesday that over the previous four months, Antle and Sawyer laundered $505,000 in cash they thought to be the proceeds of a plot to smuggle unlawful immigrants across the Southern border.
The two carried our their procedure by offering checks from two independent firms that falsely claimed they have been remitted for building perform performed at the Myrtle Beach Safari, in accordance to the DOJ. In reality, the checks were being a way to allow for the recipients to seem to have reputable cash flow, and in exchange, Antle and Sawyer obtained a 15 per cent fee of all laundered revenue.
“The grievance alleges that Antle talked about his plan to conceal the dollars he acquired by inflating vacationer numbers at the Myrtle Seaside Safari, and that in the earlier he experienced made use of bulk cash receipts to acquire animals for which he could not use checks,” the DOJ added in an announcement.
Antle and Sawyer are now remaining detained at the J. Reuben Extensive Detention Middle in Conway, South Carolina, and now experience a optimum of 20 several years in federal prison.
This does not mark the first time Antle has confronted prison rates. The 62-yr-aged is also struggling with two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife trafficking rates, as well as 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and animal cruelty rates tied to trafficking lion cubs, in accordance to the Connected Press.
A spokesperson for Individuals for the Moral Treatment of Animal (PETA), which has long condemned Antle’s cure of animals, explained to the information outlet previously this week that the expenses versus him are “fitting.”
“It really is fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is at the rear of bars immediately after years of locking up the endangered animals he takes advantage of in tawdry photograph ops. His authorized woes are mounting,” claimed Debbie Metzler, affiliate director of PETA’s Captive Animal Legislation Enforcement division.