‘Tiger King’ star Doc Antle will be available on bail

A link is established for “Tiger King” star Bhagavan “Doc” Antle for charges of laundering more than half a million dollars, money federal prosecutors said he believed was the product of an operation to cross the Mexican smuggling border. United States.

A federal judge in Florence, South Carolina, on Monday set a $ 250,000 bail bond for Antle, who was still in jail as of Monday night. Federal prosecutors said it would take a day to process his release, after Antle will be confined to his 50-acre (20-acre) tropical wildlife reserve in Socastee, off Myrtle Beach.

Prosecutors have argued in court records that Antle should remain in pretrial detention before his trial because it is a risk of flight, pointing to his “significant financial resources” and “contacts who know how to make fake identification documents.”


Arguing for his release, Antle’s lawyers said the 62-year-old man has no previous convictions and suffers from irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure, “which can worsen the symptoms of COVID-19 if Antle gets the disease while he is imprisoned. ”

The charges against Antle and Andrew Jon Sawyer, one of Antle’s employees at Myrtle Beach Safari, were revealed during a federal court hearing earlier this month.

According to federal prosecutors, Antle and Sawyer laundered $ 505,000 over a four-month period handing out checks from the companies they controlled, receiving a commission of 15% of the money that passed through their hands.

The checks, prosecutors allege, were intended to be a payment for construction work on Myrtle Beach Safari, but were actually intended to serve as proof that the beneficiaries had legitimate income.

According to a federal complaint, Antle discussed his plan to hide the money he received by inflating the number of tourists in his wildlife reserve. Prosecutors also said he had previously used bulk cash receipts to buy animals for which he could not use checks.


According to authorities, Antle and Sawyer face up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted. Sawyer was released earlier this month on $ 100,000 bail, according to court records.

Antle featured prominently in “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” a 2020 Netflix documentary miniseries centered on U.S. tiger breeders and private zoo operators. ill-treatment and was convicted in a plot to kill a rival, Carole Baskin.

Animal rights defenders have accused Antle of mistreating lions and other wildlife. He faces several charges in Virginia, including animal abuse, wildlife trafficking and 13 minor conspiracy offenses for violating the Endangered Species Act.

Federal prosecutors said Antle was on bail for those state charges when he committed his alleged crimes in South Carolina.


In May, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked the IRS to investigate the Antle Rare Species Fund, a nonprofit organization that raises money for wildlife conservation. PETA alleges that it uses some of the fund’s money to subsidize its safari site.

In a statement on Monday, Michelle Sinnott, associate director of PETA’s Pet Enforcement Law Enforcement Division, said a federal agent who testified at Antle’s arrest hearing “made it clear that additional federal charges are expected within the month.”

Antle has a history of recorded violations, dating back to 1989, when he was fined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for abandoning deer and peacocks at his Virginia zoo. Over the years, he has had more than 35 USDA violations for animal abuse.


Meg Kinnard can be contacted on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.

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‘Tiger King’ star Doc Antle will be available on bail

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