Zookeeper Bhagavan, Doc Antle, who gained fame through his appearance in the Netflix docuseries ‘Tiger King,’ has been convicted of purchasing endangered lion cubs. At the time, he criticized the show for being “salacious” and portraying an unflattering image of him and his animal park.
‘Tiger King’ Star Doc Antle Found Guilty
On Friday, the verdict was announced, determining that Doc Antle is guilty of two serious charges related to wildlife trafficking: two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and two felony counts of conspiring to engage in wildlife trafficking, People reported.
However, the misdemeanor animal cruelty charges against his adult daughters, Tilakam “Tilly” Magnolia Watterson and Tawny Antle, were dismissed by a Frederick County Circuit Court judge, as reported by the Winchester Star.
According to prosecutors, Doc Antle procured the lion cubs from a now-defunct roadside zoo located in Frederick County. His intention was to showcase them at his Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina, a venture that has now come under legal scrutiny.
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares expressed satisfaction with the verdict. The attorney general’s animal law unit initiated an investigation into Doc Antle’s Zoo, along with Wilson’s Wild Animal Park in Winchester, Virginia, back in 2019.
The probe lasted several months before Antle was indicted the following year. Investigators discovered a trafficking operation involving the lion cubs, shuttling them between Virginia and South Carolina.
Keith Wilson, the owner of Wilson’s Wild Animal Park, testified against Doc Antle and acknowledged his involvement in the illegal scheme.
Wilson, on the other hand, is currently facing a range of charges which include nine counts of animal cruelty classified as misdemeanors, and 10 counts of selling an endangered species, classified as felonies.
Other Legal issues of Doc Antle
In June 2022, Doc Antle encountered additional legal issues as he came under heightened scrutiny. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Carolina filed charges against him for the offense of money laundering.
Prosecutors alleged that Doc Antle had laundered $505,000 in cash through a business associate. The money in question was believed to be linked to the profits obtained from an operation involving the smuggling of undocumented immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Doc Antle is presently out on bond regarding these money laundering charges, as reported by The Post and Courier.
Doc Antle is set to be sentenced on September 14, marking the next chapter in the legal saga surrounding the controversial zookeeper and wildlife trafficker.