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

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Tiger King star Bhagavan “Doc” Antle has been charged with federal dollars 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 coach who owns the Myrtle Seaside Safari in South Carolina, was arrested by the FBI on Friday. A person of his workforce and organization associates, Omar Sawyer, was also taken into custody.

Antle was featured in the preferred 2020 Netflix documentary sequence that uncovered abuse in just private zoo functions and the unique pet trade. The collection centered largely on Oklahoma zoo operator Joe Unique, who has been accused of mistreating animals and was convicted in a criminal plot to get rid of his enemy, Carole Baskin.

The DOJ mentioned Tuesday that around the very last 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.

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

The two carried our their procedure by delivering checks from two different businesses that falsely claimed they ended up remitted for building perform 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 authentic cash flow, and in trade, Antle and Sawyer received a 15 per cent cost of all laundered income.

“The complaint alleges that Antle reviewed his program to conceal the hard cash he obtained by inflating tourist numbers at the Myrtle Seaside Safari, and that in the previous he had used bulk money receipts to buy animals for which he could not use checks,” the DOJ added in an announcement.

Antle and Sawyer are now becoming detained at the J. Reuben Prolonged Detention Centre in Conway, South Carolina, and now confront a maximum of 20 years in federal jail.

This does not mark the very first time Antle has faced felony expenses. The 62-yr-old is also dealing with two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife trafficking fees, as properly as 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and animal cruelty fees tied to trafficking lion cubs, according to the Linked Push.

A spokesperson for People for the Moral Procedure of Animal (PETA), which has extensive condemned Antle’s treatment method of animals, explained to the news outlet before this week that the prices versus him are “fitting.”

“It is really fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is at the rear of bars immediately after many years of locking up the endangered animals he utilizes in tawdry photograph ops. His legal woes are mounting,” claimed Debbie Metzler, associate director of PETA’s Captive Animal Law Enforcement division.

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