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No bond decision made for ‘Tiger King’ star facing federal money laundering charges

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 11:36 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2022 at 4:53 PM EDT
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – No bond decision was made Thursday for a Myrtle Beach man who appeared in the popular Netflix series, “Tiger King.”

A detention hearing for Myrtle Beach Safari owner Bhagavan “Doc” Antle was held in Thursday at the McMillian Federal Building in Florence. A detention hearing is similar to a bond hearing, where a court will determine whether to keep a suspect in jail without bail.

Federal prosecutors argued that Antle would be a flight risk if he was released, but a judge did not issue a decision.

It was also revealed during the hearing that Antle is facing a pair of new animal trafficking charges out of Virginia, with an extradition warrant out for his arrest.

He’s also facing a number of similar charges in the state, but was released on bond. The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said Antle is now in violation of that bond and wants him extradited back to Virginia if he is released in South Carolina.

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During Thursday’s hearing, an FBI agent testified and said Antle and two other men laundered over $505,000 by creating a fake business called Socastee Landscaping to the transactions seem legitimate. An audio recording was also played of a conversation Antle had with an FBI informant about how to obtain fake social security cards.

A previously unsealed criminal complaint also detailed how the proceeds were part of an operation to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Mexican border into the United States.

Antle’s attornies argued their client be released on bond and said the other individuals involved took a larger portion of the money - but were given bond.

Andrew Sawyer, a business associate of Antle, has also been charged in connection with the case.

A criminal complaint against the two shows they are charged with laundering of monetary instruments and money laundering conspiracy.

Andrew Sawyer
Andrew Sawyer(Source: JRLDC)

Antle and Sawyer each face a maximum of 20 years in federal prison on the charges if they are convicted.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.

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