‘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 cash laundering crimes involving cash that allegedly arrived from an operation to smuggle unlawful immigrants from Mexico to the U.S., the Department of Justice (DOJ) mentioned Monday.

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

Antle was highlighted in the well-liked 2020 Netflix documentary sequence that uncovered abuse in just personal zoo operations and the unique pet trade. The sequence targeted mainly on Oklahoma zoo operator Joe Unique, who has been accused of mistreating animals and was convicted in a prison plot to destroy his enemy, Carole Baskin.

The DOJ explained Tuesday that around the last four months, Antle and Sawyer laundered $505,000 in cash they believed to be the proceeds of a plot to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Southern border.

“Doc” Antle, a wild animal coach who was featured in Netflix’s “Tiger King” documentary, has been arrested in a money laundering plan. Below, 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 operation by supplying checks from two individual organizations that falsely claimed they have been remitted for construction work carried out at the Myrtle Beach Safari, according to the DOJ. In reality, the checks had been a way to enable the recipients to show up to have reputable earnings, and in exchange, Antle and Sawyer acquired a 15 % rate of all laundered cash.

“The criticism alleges that Antle discussed his program to conceal the funds he received by inflating tourist figures at the Myrtle Seashore Safari, and that in the past he experienced applied bulk money receipts to purchase animals for which he could not use checks,” the DOJ included in an announcement.

Antle and Sawyer are presently remaining detained at the J. Reuben Long Detention Centre in Conway, South Carolina, and now facial area a most of 20 a long time in federal jail.

This does not mark the initially time Antle has faced prison prices. The 62-calendar year-aged is also going through two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife trafficking rates, as well as 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and animal cruelty expenses tied to trafficking lion cubs, according to the Related Push.

A spokesperson for People for the Moral Treatment method of Animal (PETA), which has long condemned Antle’s therapy of animals, told the news outlet previously this 7 days that the rates in opposition to him are “fitting.”

“It’s fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is guiding bars right after decades of locking up the endangered animals he works by using in tawdry photo ops. His legal woes are mounting,” claimed Debbie Metzler, affiliate director of PETA’s Captive Animal Regulation Enforcement division.

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