‘Doc’ Antle of ‘Tiger King’ fame arrested by FBI on money laundering charges

Published: Jun. 4, 2022 at 9:33 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 4, 2022 at 3:19 PM CDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF/Gray News) - The owner of the Myrtle Beach Safari, who is best known nationally for his appearances on the Netflix documentary “Tiger King,” is now behind bars, according to online records.

Bhagavan “Doc” Antle was booked into the J. Reuben Long Detention Center on Friday. No charges have been listed as of 10 a.m. Saturday.

An FBI source confirmed to WMBF News that the agency had arrested Antle, but provided no further information.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said a hearing for Antle is scheduled for Monday. More information on the case will also be provided then.

A source told the Associated Press the charges relate to allegations of money laundering. The person said they could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

The arrest comes as PETA recently called for an investigation into Myrtle Beach Safari and nonprofit Rare Species Fund, of which Antle serves as president. The organization claimed Antle was using charitable donations to fund the zoo while claiming to support wildlife conservation.

Shortly after Antle’s arrest, Debbie Metzler, associate director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement PETA released an additional statement, saying: “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.”

WMBF News reached out to the Myrtle Beach Safari on Friday for comment and haven’t received a response.

The station also reached out to the Rare Species Fund, the South Carolina Secretary of State, and the IRS for comment shortly after PETA called for an investigation, and have not yet received responses from those entities.

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