According to people familiar with the matter, federal authorities arrested one of the stars of the popular Tiger King documentary on Netflix on Friday in Horry County, South Carolina.
The charges against Mahamayavi Bhagavan Antle – a.k.a. Doc Antle – have not been formally announced, but the 62-year-old zookeeper was booked at Horry County’s J. Reuben Long detention centre at 5:38 p.m. EDT on Friday afternoon.
An arrest record stated, “No charges indicated.”
According to the jail record, Antle was being kept at the facility at the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Antle, 62, starred in the first season of the Netflix sensation in 2020, attracting 34.3 million viewers in its first 10 days of release.
A follow-up documentary, Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story, premiered in December and focused on the native of Salinas, California.
Officials from the federal government declined to comment on Antle’s incarceration, but sources close to the investigation told this news organisation that he was being investigated for money laundering.
According to my sources, Antle is scheduled to appear in court next Monday afternoon. His charges will be made public at that time.
Last month, PETA issued a press release calling on “federal and state authorities” to investigate an alleged “charity scam” involving Antle’s Rare Species Fund and his for-profit company, Myrtle Beach Safari.
According to PETA, Antle allegedly exploited nonprofit donations to “subsidise the for-profit Myrtle Beach Safari.”
According to the organisation, Antle’s tax-exempt status should be terminated, and the IRS should “pursue all appropriate civil penalties and criminal procedures” against him.
Federal officials would not comment on Antle’s detention, but sources close to the inquiry told this news organisation that he was facing various money laundering allegations.
Antle is set to appear in court next Monday afternoon, according to my sources. At that time, his charges will be made public.
PETA released a press statement last month demanding “federal and state authorities to crack down” on an alleged “charity scam” involving Antle’s Rare Species Fund and his for-profit company, Myrtle Beach Safari.
Antle allegedly used nonprofit contributions to “subsidise the for-profit Myrtle Beach Safari,” according to PETA.
Antle’s tax-exempt status should be revoked, and the IRS should “pursue all applicable civil penalties and criminal proceedings” against him, according to the group.
“After years of locking up the endangered animals he uses in tawdry picture ops, it’s fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is behind bars,” PETA associate director Debbie Metzler said in a statement. “His legal difficulties are just getting worse, as PETA recently exposed his purported ‘charity’ scheme, and the end of his reign of terrorising tiger cubs can’t come soon enough.”.
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Antle is already facing many accusations in Virginia, where he was arrested on two felony counts related to alleged wildlife trafficking and thirteen other crimes by former Attorney General Mark Herring.
Herring’s office also charged Antle’s daughters, Tawny Antle and Tilakum Watterson.