June 15, 2024

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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 revenue laundering crimes involving cash that allegedly arrived from an procedure to smuggle unlawful immigrants from Mexico to the U.S., the Section of Justice (DOJ) claimed Monday.

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

Antle was featured in the common 2020 Netflix documentary sequence that uncovered abuse inside private zoo functions and the unique pet trade. The series concentrated mostly on Oklahoma zoo operator Joe Exotic, who has been accused of mistreating animals and was convicted in a felony plot to eliminate his enemy, Carole Baskin.

The DOJ mentioned Tuesday that around the previous 4 months, Antle and Sawyer laundered $505,000 in cash they considered to be the proceeds of a plot to smuggle illegal immigrants throughout the Southern border.

Doc Antle, Tiger King
“Doc” Antle, a wild animal trainer who was featured in Netflix’s “Tiger King” documentary, has been arrested in a money laundering scheme. Below, a pair of tigers rescued from Joe Exotic’s G.W. Exotic Animal Park are observed on April 5, 2020 in Keenesburg, Colorado.
Marc Piscotty/Getty Illustrations or photos

The two carried our their procedure by providing checks from two different firms that falsely claimed they had been remitted for construction do the job done at the Myrtle Seashore Safari, according to the DOJ. In actuality, the checks were being a way to make it possible for the recipients to seem to have respectable income, and in trade, Antle and Sawyer obtained a 15 per cent rate of all laundered funds.

“The grievance alleges that Antle talked about his program to conceal the hard cash he been given by inflating vacationer figures at the Myrtle Seaside Safari, and that in the earlier he had utilised bulk money receipts to invest in animals for which he could not use checks,” the DOJ added in an announcement.

Antle and Sawyer are now getting detained at the J. Reuben Extensive Detention Middle in Conway, South Carolina, and now encounter a maximum of 20 several years in federal jail.

This does not mark the initial time Antle has faced criminal charges. The 62-calendar year-aged is also going through two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife trafficking prices, as perfectly as 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and animal cruelty charges tied to trafficking lion cubs, in accordance to the Associated Press.

A spokesperson for Men and women for the Moral Therapy of Animal (PETA), which has very long condemned Antle’s therapy of animals, informed the news outlet before this week that the costs against him are “fitting.”

“It can be fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is at the rear of bars soon after yrs of locking up the endangered animals he utilizes in tawdry image ops. His lawful woes are mounting,” said Debbie Metzler, associate director of PETA’s Captive Animal Law Enforcement division.

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