Tiger King's Doc Antle is Charged With Money Laundering in Relation to Allegated Human Smuggling Operation

Prosecutors claim Doc Antle and a business associate allegedly laundered $505,000 in a period of four months

Tiger King's Doc Antle is Charged With Money Laundering in Relation to Allegated Human Smuggling Operation

Prosecutors claim Doc Antle and a business associate allegedly laundered $505,000 in a period of four months

PEOPLE confirms that South Carolina federal prosecutors have charged Bhagavan Antle with money laundering.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office of South Carolina, Antle, 62, who is the owner of South Carolina's Myrtle Beach Safari, and became famous after appearing in Netflix's Tiger King, allegedly laundered $505,000 cash with Andrew Jon Sawyer (52), over the course of the past four months.

In a press release, the prosecution stated that the money was "the proceeds from an operation to smuggle undocumented immigrants across U.S.-Mexico borders."

Prosecutors wrote that "Antle & Sawyer would laundering the cash by providing checks" through their businesses.

"These checks falsely claimed that they were being remitted for construction work at the Myrtle Beach Safari. In reality, the checks were simply meant to make the recipients appear to have legitimate income."

According to reports, the couple received a 15% fee for laundering money.

According to the release, Antle "discussed his plans to hide the cash he got by inflating tourist figures at the Myrtle Beach Safari. He also stated that he had previously used bulk cash receipts for animals to which he couldn't use checks."

PEOPLE reported that Antle was booked in a Horry County jail on Friday by the FBI.

He is still in custody. He was not immediately able to say if he had retained an attorney or entered into a plea.

PEOPLE's request to comment from Myrtle Beach Safari was not immediately answered.

Antle could spend up to 20 years in federal jail if he is found guilty.

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