A FedEx truck quietly left Myrtle Beach Safari as various animal sounds filled the air a day after the facility's owner was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Otherwise, it was quiet at the exotic animal facility that often hosts some of the biggest celebrities in the United States.
Bhagavan "Doc" Antle, who was featured in Netflix hit docu-series "Tiger King," was arrested by the FBI on June 3 and was booked into J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Conway, South Carolina at 5:38 p.m. As of early afternoon June 4, no charges were listed in online records, and he was still incarcerated.
Citing anonymous sources, WPDE-TV in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina reported that the charges relate to money laundering and there will be a hearing Monday.
Antle is facing a pair of felony charges and 13 misdemeanor charges related to his animals. He faces one felony count of wildlife trafficking and one felony count of conspiracy to traffic in wildlife. The misdemeanor charges include nine counts of animal cruelty via an investigation by the Virginia attorney general for allegedly trafficking lion cubs between that state and South Carolina.
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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has often targeted Antle in recent years, put out a news release on his arrest June 3.
“It’s fitting that 'Doc' Antle is behind bars after years of locking up the endangered animals he uses in tawdry photo ops. His legal woes are mounting, as PETA recently blew the whistle on his apparent 'charity' scam, and the end to his reign of terrorizing tiger cubs can’t come soon enough," PETA Foundation Associated Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler said in a prepared statement.
Antle has previously said that his facility's aim is for the conservation of animals, such as Tigers, elephants and exotic birds. However, PETA contends that he uses the exotic animals for "highly profitable public encounters, routinely treated as props for publicity stunts, and exploited for 'likes' on social media."
PETA has also criticized Antle for allowing patrons to pet the wild animals. However, Antle has contended that he follows all wildlife laws when it comes to contact with the animals.
Antle was featured in the original Tiger King docu-series that debuted on Netflix in March 2020. He was a co-star of main stars of the show, Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, and Carole Baskin.
In December 2021, Netflix released "Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story," which featured salacious claims about Antle's past.
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