‘Tiger King’ Star Pleads Guilty To Federal Charges For Wildlife Trafficking, Money Laundering

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Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, a former star of the Netflix show “Tiger King,” pleaded guilty Monday to wildlife trafficking and money laundering charges, according to an official press release.

Antle illegally trafficked endangered species between 2018 to 2020 through “directing the sale or purchase of two cheetah cubs, two lion cubs, two tigers and one juvenile chimpanzee” and used large cash payments and falsified documents to conceal the transactions, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of South Carolina. (RELATED: Joe Exotic Threatens To Sue Florida State’s Jordan Travis Over ‘Tiger King’ Moniker)

“The defendant held himself out as a conservationist, yet repeatedly violated laws protecting endangered animals and then tried to cover up those violations,” Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim said. “This prosecution demonstrates our commitment to combatting illegal trafficking, which threatens the survival of endangered animals.”

Antle is facing up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release for each count, according to the press release.

Antle was previously accused of “two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and two felony counts of conspiracy to traffic wildlife” and found guilty in Virginia in June, WSPA 7 News reported. The animals were later displayed at Antle’s 50-acre exotic wildlife tropical preserve open to tourists, per the outlet. Antle also needed to pay a total of $10,000 in fines and was barred from working with animals in the state for a period of at least five years.

Another “Tiger King” star, Joseph Maldonado-Passage (commonly known as “Joe Exotic”), is currently serving a 21-year jail sentence for trying to contract two men to murder an animal rights activist, the Associated Press reported.