Tiger King star Bhagavan “Doc” Antle has been charged with federal revenue laundering crimes involving money that allegedly came from an operation to smuggle illegal immigrants from Mexico to the U.S., the Office of Justice (DOJ) stated Monday.
Antle, a controversial wild animal trainer who owns the Myrtle Seaside Safari in South Carolina, was arrested by the FBI on Friday. One particular of his personnel and small business associates, Omar Sawyer, was also taken into custody.
Antle was highlighted in the well-known 2020 Netflix documentary collection that uncovered abuse within non-public zoo operations and the exotic pet trade. The series concentrated mainly on Oklahoma zoo operator Joe Exotic, who has been accused of mistreating animals and was convicted in a legal plot to destroy his enemy, Carole Baskin.
The DOJ mentioned Tuesday that more than the previous 4 months, Antle and Sawyer laundered $505,000 in money they believed to be the proceeds of a plot to smuggle unlawful immigrants throughout the Southern border.
The two carried our their operation by giving checks from two different corporations that falsely claimed they were remitted for development get the job done carried out at the Myrtle Beach front Safari, according to the DOJ. In fact, the checks ended up a way to enable the recipients to seem to have legit revenue, and in exchange, Antle and Sawyer gained a 15 per cent rate of all laundered cash.
“The criticism alleges that Antle talked about his plan to conceal the money he received by inflating tourist quantities at the Myrtle Beach front Safari, and that in the earlier he experienced used bulk funds receipts to acquire animals for which he could not use checks,” the DOJ extra in an announcement.
Antle and Sawyer are now staying detained at the J. Reuben Very long Detention Middle in Conway, South Carolina, and now confront a greatest of 20 several years in federal prison.
This does not mark the initially time Antle has confronted legal costs. The 62-12 months-old is also going through two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife trafficking prices, as properly as 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and animal cruelty prices tied to trafficking lion cubs, according to the Connected Press.
A spokesperson for Individuals for the Moral Treatment method of Animal (PETA), which has extended condemned Antle’s procedure of animals, advised the news outlet before this week that the expenses in opposition to him are “fitting.”
“It can be fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is behind bars right after decades of locking up the endangered animals he works by using in tawdry photo ops. His lawful woes are mounting,” stated Debbie Metzler, affiliate director of PETA’s Captive Animal Regulation Enforcement division.