Tiger King star Bhagavan “Doc” Antle has been charged with federal dollars laundering crimes involving income that allegedly came from an procedure to smuggle unlawful immigrants from Mexico to the U.S., the Section of Justice (DOJ) explained Monday.
Antle, a controversial wild animal coach who owns the Myrtle Seashore Safari in South Carolina, was arrested by the FBI on Friday. A person of his workforce and business associates, Omar Sawyer, was also taken into custody.
Antle was highlighted in the popular 2020 Netflix documentary series that uncovered abuse inside of private zoo functions 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 said Tuesday that in excess of the past four months, Antle and Sawyer laundered $505,000 in hard cash they considered to be the proceeds of a plot to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Southern border.
The two carried our their operation by providing checks from two different organizations that falsely claimed they had been remitted for development do the job performed at the Myrtle Seashore Safari, according to the DOJ. In truth, the checks had been a way to permit the recipients to appear to have authentic cash flow, and in exchange, Antle and Sawyer acquired a 15 p.c price of all laundered funds.
“The criticism alleges that Antle talked over his plan to conceal the income he gained by inflating tourist quantities at the Myrtle Seashore Safari, and that in the previous he experienced utilized bulk hard cash receipts to buy animals for which he could not use checks,” the DOJ extra in an announcement.
Antle and Sawyer are presently remaining detained at the J. Reuben Lengthy Detention Heart in Conway, South Carolina, and now confront a optimum of 20 years in federal jail.
This does not mark the very first time Antle has confronted prison charges. The 62-year-aged is also experiencing two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife trafficking prices, as very well as 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and animal cruelty rates tied to trafficking lion cubs, according to the Associated Press.
A spokesperson for Individuals for the Moral Treatment method of Animal (PETA), which has very long condemned Antle’s treatment of animals, explained to the news outlet before this 7 days that the expenses against him are “fitting.”
“It’s fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is powering bars right after many years of locking up the endangered animals he takes advantage of in tawdry picture ops. His authorized woes are mounting,” reported Debbie Metzler, associate director of PETA’s Captive Animal Legislation Enforcement division.