Doc Antle From Netflix's 'Tiger King' Arrested By The FBI

Ashley Hunte
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Unsplash | Melody Ayres-Griffiths

On Friday, June 3, the FBI arrested Tiger King star Bhagavan "Doc" Antle in South Carolina. He has been in custody at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Conway, South Carolina over the weekend.

With court proceedings expected to begin this week, a formal announcement of the exact charges against Antle is expected soon.

This is, in part, spurred on by Antle's appearances in both seasons of "Tiger King."

Doc Anlte, 63, was first introduced as an owner of a big cat sanctuary on the Netflix docuseries, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, back in 2020. The series showcases Joe Exotic, an Oklahoma zoo operator who was convicted in a plot to kill Carole Baskin.

Following the release of "Tiger King" Season 1, Antle was indicted in Virginia.

In the fall of 2020, Antle was charged with a felony count of wildlife trafficking as well as with the conspiracy to traffic animals. In addition, he faced 13 misdemeanor charges, each relating to animal cruelty and the Endangered Species Act.

Antle was also featured in "Tiger King's" second season, and had several episodes focused on the allegations against him.

Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story, described as an extension of Tiger King season 2, released on Netflix last December, and focused on Antle's wildlife safari in Myrtle Beach, highlighting the cult he allegedly ran.

In response to his addition to the series, Antle has taken to making his own documentary.

Tiger Kingdom: More Than a King is meant to tell Antle's side of the story, claiming that the Netflix series represents falsehoods.

But according to animal rights activists, the charges against Antle have been a long time coming.

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The Associated Press writes that Antle has been the subject to fines and violations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as far back as 1989, amounting to at least 35 violations.

These latest charges are related to his nonprofit, the Rare Species Fund.

Two large stacks of American dollar bills.
Unsplash | Celyn Kang

In May, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) asked the IRS to probe the nonprofit, accusing Antle of using funds from it to subsidize his safari.

PETA released a statement about the matter.

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In a statement, Debbie Metzler, associate director of PETA’s Captive Animal Law Enforcement said, "It’s fitting that Doc Antle is behind bars after years of locking up the endangered animals he uses in tawdry photo ops."

While the full list of charges is not yet known, it appears that they're related to money laundering.

A person holding banknotes on the side of a grater, which appear to be turning into coins as they pass through.
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A source told the Associated Press on Saturday that the charges against Antle are related to money laundering, but could not elaborate further.

Antle's children have also been served with animal cruelty-related charges.

A gavel on top of a green book, which is on top of a pile of money.
Unsplash | Sasun Bughdaryan

One of Antle's daughters, Tawny Antle, was charged with one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty, around the time Antle had been charged in Virginia back in 2020.

Another one of his daughters, Tliakum Watterson, faced similar charges.

A gavel next to its stand; both of which are on a marble surface.
Unsplash | Tingey Injury Law Firm

Also in 2020, Watterson was charged with two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, as well as two misdemeanor counts of being in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

h/t: Associated Press