Myrtle Beach Safari owner featured in ‘Tiger King’ pleads not guilty in federal wildlife trafficking case

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 8:27 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2022 at 11:13 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – One of the stars of Netflix’s “Tiger King” pleaded not guilty to several federal charges.

Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, the owner of Myrtle Beach Safari, appeared in federal court Wednesday in Florence. During the hearing, it was revealed Antle is being charged with three additional counts of wildlife trafficking as well as one count of a label violation.

Antle could face up to five years in prison on each new wildlife trafficking count along with a year for the label violation.

His appearance Wednesday was for an arraignment, where the defendant is formally advised of the charges against him and asked to enter a plea.

“Today was nothing we did not expect.,” said Ryan Beasley, Antle’s attorney. “We have a very long road ahead of us. We look forward to fighting these charges. Doc is very happy to be back at home and care for his animals, that’s what it’s all about.”


Antle faces a slew of other federal charges against him including money laundering.

He’s also accused of illegally trafficking animals including lemurs, cheetahs and a chimpanzee.

Federal documents also claim that Antle and his business associate, Andrew Sawyer, laundered over $500,000 in cash they believed to be the proceeds of an operation to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Mexican border into the United States.

Antle is currently out of jail on a $250,000 bond.

Copyright 2022 WMBF. All rights reserved.