Tiger King star Bhagavan “Doc” Antle has been charged with federal income laundering crimes involving money that allegedly arrived from an operation to smuggle illegal immigrants from Mexico to the U.S., the Department of Justice (DOJ) claimed Monday.
Antle, a controversial wild animal trainer who owns the Myrtle Seaside Safari in South Carolina, was arrested by the FBI on Friday. 1 of his workers and organization associates, Omar Sawyer, was also taken into custody.
Antle was showcased in the preferred 2020 Netflix documentary series that uncovered abuse inside private zoo operations and the unique pet trade. The collection focused mainly on Oklahoma zoo operator Joe Exotic, who has been accused of mistreating animals and was convicted in a criminal plot to get rid of his enemy, Carole Baskin.
The DOJ mentioned Tuesday that in excess of the last four months, Antle and Sawyer laundered $505,000 in cash they considered to be the proceeds of a plot to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Southern border.
The two carried our their operation by furnishing checks from two individual enterprises that falsely claimed they had been remitted for construction do the job done at the Myrtle Seaside Safari, according to the DOJ. In truth, the checks were a way to let the recipients to appear to have respectable profits, and in trade, Antle and Sawyer gained a 15 p.c price of all laundered cash.
“The grievance alleges that Antle mentioned his program to conceal the dollars he acquired by inflating tourist numbers at the Myrtle Seaside Safari, and that in the earlier he had applied bulk money receipts to order animals for which he could not use checks,” the DOJ extra in an announcement.
Antle and Sawyer are at present staying detained at the J. Reuben Very long Detention Centre in Conway, South Carolina, and now deal with a optimum of 20 years in federal prison.
This does not mark the to start with time Antle has confronted prison prices. The 62-12 months-aged is also facing two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife trafficking charges, as very well as 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and animal cruelty expenses tied to trafficking lion cubs, in accordance to the Connected Press.
A spokesperson for People today for the Moral Cure of Animal (PETA), which has extended condemned Antle’s treatment method 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 behind bars following years of locking up the endangered animals he works by using in tawdry photograph ops. His legal woes are mounting,” stated Debbie Metzler, associate director of PETA’s Captive Animal Legislation Enforcement division.
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