Tiger King star Bhagavan “Doc” Antle has been charged with federal income laundering crimes involving hard cash that allegedly came from an procedure to smuggle unlawful immigrants from Mexico to the U.S., the Office of Justice (DOJ) explained Monday.
Antle, a controversial wild animal coach who owns the Myrtle Seashore Safari in South Carolina, was arrested by the FBI on Friday. Just one of his personnel and business enterprise associates, Omar Sawyer, was also taken into custody.
Antle was highlighted in the common 2020 Netflix documentary sequence that uncovered abuse in just personal zoo functions and the unique pet trade. The series centered largely on Oklahoma zoo operator Joe Unique, who has been accused of mistreating animals and was convicted in a criminal plot to kill his enemy, Carole Baskin.
The DOJ mentioned Tuesday that over the final four months, Antle and Sawyer laundered $505,000 in income they thought to be the proceeds of a plot to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Southern border.
The two carried our their procedure by supplying checks from two individual businesses that falsely claimed they had been remitted for construction work performed at the Myrtle Beach front Safari, in accordance to the DOJ. In actuality, the checks have been a way to permit the recipients to surface to have legitimate profits, and in trade, Antle and Sawyer gained a 15 per cent payment of all laundered funds.
“The criticism alleges that Antle reviewed his plan to conceal the funds he obtained by inflating vacationer quantities at the Myrtle Seashore Safari, and that in the past he experienced used bulk dollars receipts to obtain animals for which he could not use checks,” the DOJ extra in an announcement.
Antle and Sawyer are at present remaining detained at the J. Reuben Extended Detention Centre in Conway, South Carolina, and now encounter a greatest of 20 decades in federal jail.
This does not mark the to start with time Antle has confronted felony rates. The 62-12 months-aged is also going through two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife trafficking rates, as nicely as 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and animal cruelty rates tied to trafficking lion cubs, according to the Connected Push.
A spokesperson for Individuals for the Ethical Therapy of Animal (PETA), which has very long condemned Antle’s cure of animals, told the information outlet previously this 7 days that the expenses towards him are “fitting.”
“It truly is fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is guiding bars just after yrs of locking up the endangered animals he makes use of in tawdry photograph ops. His legal woes are mounting,” reported Debbie Metzler, affiliate director of PETA’s Captive Animal Regulation Enforcement division.