'Tiger King's' Doc Antle Now Accused Of Illegally Trafficking Wildlife To His Myrtle Beach Zoo

Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center; David Wetzel

Doc Antle.

Jun. 30 2022, Published 4:46 p.m. ET

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Bhagavan "Doc" Antle's legal troubles just got worse.

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The Myrtle Beach Safari owner, who further rose to fame while being featured in Netflix's "Tiger King" series, was indicted on wildlife trafficking charges on June 30.

He was already facing federal money laundering charges.

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The wildlife trafficking indictment alleges that Antle, along with Myrtle Beach Safari employee Meredith (Moksha) Bybee, worked with Charles Sammut, of California who owns Vision Quest Ranch, and Jason Clay, of Texas who Franklin Drive Thru Safari, a for-profit corporation that housed captive exotic species and sold tours and safari experiences to guests, to illegally traffic wildlife in violation of federal law, including the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act, and made false records in relation to the wildlife.

Animals involved included lemurs, cheetahs and a chimpanzee, according to the indictment.

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The charges follow money laundering charges against Antle and one of his other employees that led to their jailing this month.

South Carolina

Antle and Andrew Jon Sawyer, an employee at Myrtle Beach Safari, are accused of laundering $500,000 in four months by signing checks from their businesses while receiving a 15 percent bonus for money that they controlled. Prosecutors allege that the checks were falsely stated to be for construction at Myrtle Beach Safari but rather were a front to make it seem that the recipients had legitimate income.

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Antle also concealed the money by inflating tourist numbers at Myrtle Beach Safari, according to a federal complaint. He is also accused of using bulk cash receipts to buy animals, according to The Associated Press.

Antle was released from J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Conway, South Carolina earlier this week.

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Antle and Sawyer face up to 20 years in prison for the money laundering charges and five more for the wildlife trafficking charges.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has long targeted Antle and his facility, praised the June 30 indictment.

"Kudos to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for doing what the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has refused to do for years: crack down on 'Doc' Antle’s endangered-animal exploitation outfit. PETA will keep pushing the USDA to do its job, revoke Antle’s license, and stop letting him profit from animals’ misery," PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet said in a statement provided to Front Page Detectives.


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