Tiger King star Bhagavan “Doc” Antle has been charged with federal revenue laundering crimes involving money that allegedly arrived from an procedure to smuggle unlawful immigrants from Mexico to the U.S., the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Monday.
Antle, a controversial wild animal trainer who owns the Myrtle Seashore Safari in South Carolina, was arrested by the FBI on Friday. Just one of his workers and enterprise associates, Omar Sawyer, was also taken into custody.
Antle was highlighted in the popular 2020 Netflix documentary collection that uncovered abuse within just private zoo functions and the unique pet trade. The sequence centered mostly on Oklahoma zoo operator Joe Exotic, who has been accused of mistreating animals and was convicted in a felony plot to kill his enemy, Carole Baskin.
The DOJ said Tuesday that around the last four months, Antle and Sawyer laundered $505,000 in funds they believed to be the proceeds of a plot to smuggle illegal immigrants throughout the Southern border.
The two carried our their operation by giving checks from two individual corporations that falsely claimed they ended up remitted for design do the job performed at the Myrtle Seashore Safari, in accordance to the DOJ. In truth, the checks ended up a way to enable the recipients to seem to have authentic money, and in exchange, Antle and Sawyer received a 15 per cent fee of all laundered income.
“The grievance alleges that Antle talked about his system to conceal the funds he received by inflating vacationer quantities at the Myrtle Seashore Safari, and that in the earlier he had employed bulk cash receipts to obtain animals for which he could not use checks,” the DOJ additional in an announcement.
Antle and Sawyer are at present currently being detained at the J. Reuben Long Detention Heart in Conway, South Carolina, and now confront a highest of 20 decades in federal jail.
This does not mark the initial time Antle has faced felony fees. The 62-calendar year-outdated is also going through two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife trafficking prices, as nicely as 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy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 Associated Press.
A spokesperson for Persons for the Ethical Treatment of Animal (PETA), which has extensive condemned Antle’s therapy of animals, advised the news outlet before this 7 days that the prices from him are “fitting.”
“It is fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is powering bars right after years of locking up the endangered animals he works by using in tawdry image ops. His authorized woes are mounting,” mentioned Debbie Metzler, associate director of PETA’s Captive Animal Law Enforcement division.