‘Tiger King’ Star Used His Business to Launder Human Smuggling Money: DOJ

Otto Eovaldi

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Tiger King star Bhagavan “Doc” Antle has been billed with federal income laundering crimes involving funds that allegedly arrived from an procedure 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 Seaside Safari in South Carolina, was arrested by the FBI on Friday. One of his personnel and small business associates, Omar Sawyer, was also taken into custody.

Antle was featured in the well known 2020 Netflix documentary collection that uncovered abuse inside non-public zoo operations and the exotic pet trade. The sequence targeted mostly on Oklahoma zoo operator Joe Unique, who has been accused of mistreating animals and was convicted in a legal plot to get rid of his enemy, Carole Baskin.

The DOJ said Tuesday that over the last four months, Antle and Sawyer laundered $505,000 in hard cash they considered to be the proceeds of a plot to smuggle unlawful immigrants across the Southern border.

“Doc” Antle, a wild animal trainer who was featured in Netflix’s “Tiger King” documentary, has been arrested in a funds laundering plan. Here, a pair of tigers rescued from Joe Exotic’s G.W. Exotic Animal Park are seen on April 5, 2020 in Keenesburg, Colorado.
Marc Piscotty/Getty Photos

The two carried our their procedure by delivering checks from two individual firms that falsely claimed they had been remitted for building do the job carried out at the Myrtle Beach front Safari, according to the DOJ. In actuality, the checks were being a way to permit the recipients to seem to have genuine revenue, and in trade, Antle and Sawyer received a 15 per cent charge of all laundered revenue.

“The complaint alleges that Antle discussed his strategy to conceal the money he received by inflating vacationer numbers at the Myrtle Beach Safari, and that in the past he experienced employed bulk money receipts to order animals for which he could not use checks,” the DOJ additional in an announcement.

Antle and Sawyer are now staying detained at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Conway, South Carolina, and now experience a highest of 20 yrs in federal jail.

This does not mark the 1st time Antle has faced prison charges. The 62-yr-previous is also dealing with two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife trafficking costs, as very well as 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and animal cruelty prices tied to trafficking lion cubs, in accordance to the Related Press.

A spokesperson for Folks for the Ethical Therapy of Animal (PETA), which has very long condemned Antle’s cure of animals, told the information outlet before this 7 days that the charges towards him are “fitting.”

“It really is fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is at the rear of bars following years of locking up the endangered animals he employs in tawdry image ops. His lawful woes are mounting,” mentioned Debbie Metzler, affiliate director of PETA’s Captive Animal Legislation Enforcement division.

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