November 28, 2022

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

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Tiger King star Bhagavan “Doc” Antle has been billed with federal income 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) reported Monday.

Antle, a controversial wild animal trainer who owns the Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina, was arrested by the FBI on Friday. Just one of his staff and company associates, Omar Sawyer, was also taken into custody.

Antle was showcased in the preferred 2020 Netflix documentary sequence that uncovered abuse inside personal zoo operations and the exotic pet trade. The series focused mainly on Oklahoma zoo operator Joe Exotic, who has been accused of mistreating animals and was convicted in a prison plot to eliminate his enemy, Carole Baskin.

The DOJ reported Tuesday that around the final 4 months, Antle and Sawyer laundered $505,000 in money they thought to be the proceeds of a plot to smuggle unlawful immigrants across the Southern border.

“Doc” Antle, a wild animal trainer who was showcased in Netflix’s “Tiger King” documentary, has been arrested in a revenue laundering scheme. Right here, a pair of tigers rescued from Joe Exotic’s G.W. Unique Animal Park are witnessed on April 5, 2020 in Keenesburg, Colorado.
Marc Piscotty/Getty Photographs

The two carried our their procedure by providing checks from two independent organizations that falsely claimed they had been remitted for construction function done at the Myrtle Seashore Safari, in accordance to the DOJ. In reality, the checks have been a way to make it possible for the recipients to appear to have reputable money, and in exchange, Antle and Sawyer acquired a 15 per cent rate of all laundered income.

“The grievance alleges that Antle talked over his program to conceal the money he gained by inflating tourist quantities at the Myrtle Beach front Safari, and that in the past he experienced used bulk income receipts to order animals for which he could not use checks,” the DOJ added in an announcement.

Antle and Sawyer are at present staying detained at the J. Reuben Long Detention Middle in Conway, South Carolina, and now encounter a utmost of 20 yrs in federal prison.

This does not mark the initially time Antle has faced criminal expenses. The 62-calendar year-old is also struggling with two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife trafficking fees, as perfectly as 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and animal cruelty fees tied to trafficking lion cubs, in accordance to the Related Press.

A spokesperson for People today for the Moral Treatment method of Animal (PETA), which has prolonged condemned Antle’s treatment method of animals, advised the news outlet previously this week that the charges in opposition to him are “fitting.”

“It really is fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is behind bars immediately after yrs of locking up the endangered animals he utilizes in tawdry photograph ops. His lawful woes are mounting,” reported Debbie Metzler, associate director of PETA’s Captive Animal Regulation Enforcement division.

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