HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Tiger King’s “Doc” Antle was booked into the J. Reuben Long Detention Center on Friday evening, according to jail records.
Bhagavan Antle, 62, does not have charges listed. He was booked at about 5:40 p.m. by the FBI, according to jail records. A mugshot for him was not yet available, as of 6:30 p.m. Friday.
No information was immediately available about why he was arrested. Kevin Wheeler with the FBI told News13 on Friday that he did not have any details to provide at this time but confirmed that Antle had been arrested.
TMZ reported on Friday that law enforcement sources said the arrest has to do with money laundering. TMZ also reported that Antle is due in court next week.
On Saturday, the Associated Press reported that charges related to money laundering are expected to be announced Monday afternoon in federal court in Florence, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
PETA released a statement Friday night after Antle’s arrest.
“It’s fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is behind bars after years of locking up the endangered animals he uses in tawdry photo ops,” PETA said in the statement. “His legal woes are mounting, as PETA recently blew the whistle on his apparent “charity” scam, and the end to his reign of terrorizing tiger cubs can’t come soon enough.”
Antle owns Myrtle Beach Safari in Horry County. He told News13 in December that allegations made against him in “Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story” were “absolutely false.”
Information in the documentary accused him of having sexual relationships with multiple minors while he was an adult — including that he conspired to forge the signature of a 15-year-old’s father so they could be legally married. He was also accused of physically abusing women and that he used deceptive financial practices as it relates to a fundraising organization.
In the docuseries, allegations are made about how money that Antle has raised for the Rare Species Fund has been spent and whether much of the money goes back into his pocket. The Myrtle Beach Safari website says the fund was established in 1983 and “is a grassroots organization that provides financial support and practical training to wildlife conservation initiatives in situ.” The website goes on to say that fund’s support has primarily focused on projects in South America, Africa and Thailand.
One woman referred to Antle on the show as the “Harvey Weinstein of the animal training business”. The T.I.G.E.R.S. facility at Barefoot Landing was also mentioned several times in the new docuseries.
In January 2021, Antle waived his right to appear in court on various wildlife trafficking charges stemming from an investigation tied to a Virginia animal park. His trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 31. His motions to dismiss the charges have been denied.
Count on 2 for updates.