The animal park owner was arrested by the FBI earlier this month and accused of cleaning more than half a million dollars.
Tiger King

Breakout Tiger King baddie Bhagavan "Doc" Antle will once again be free to roam the wild planes of Myrtle Beach.

On Monday a federal judge in Florence, S.C., set a $250,000 secured bond for the animal park owner, who has been charged with laundering more than half a million dollars. According to the Associated Press, federal prosecutors said Antle's release would take a day to process, after which he'd be confined to his 50-acre wildlife preserve in Socastee, outside Myrtle Beach (which actually doesn't sound that confining.)

Prosecutors had argued that Antle, 62, is a flight risk, given that he has "significant financial resources" and "contacts that know how to make false identification documents," while Antle's attorneys noted that he has no prior convictions and said he has medical conditions that could "exacerbate the symptoms of COVID-19 should Antle contract the disease while he is incarcerated."

Bhagavan 'Doc' Antle
Bhagavan 'Doc' Antle
| Credit: Horry County Police Department

Antle was was arrested by the FBI on June 4, and charges against him and an employee at his Myrtle Beach Safari, Andrew Jon Sawyer, were disclosed at a subsequent hearing in federal court.

According to federal prosecutors, Antle and Sawyer laundered $505,000 over a four-month period using checks from businesses they ran, claiming they were paying for construction at the safari. Antle allegedly planned to conceal the excess cash by inflating the number of tourists to his wildlife preserve and had previously used the laundered money to buy animals under the table.

Antle and Sawyer each face 20 years in federal prison if convicted. Sawyer was released on $100,000 bond earlier this month.

Bhagavan 'Doc' Antle on 'Tiger King'
Bhagavan 'Doc' Antle on 'Tiger King'
| Credit: Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection

Antle came to national attention as one of the less sympathetic figures in Netflix's hit docuseries Tiger King, which is saying something. In promotional materials for the three-episode 2021 spin-off Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story, Netflix described him as "a predator far more dangerous than his beloved big cats and a man shadier than any of his Tiger King counterparts."

The Doc Antle Story delved into accusations that Antle ran his operation like a cult, using his power to prey on women. And going back to at least 1989, Antle has been accused of mistreating animals, collecting some 35 violations from the USDA. He also faces multiple charges in Virginia, including animal cruelty, wildlife trafficking, and 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act.

With Antle on his way out from behind bars, we have to imagine that his rival Carole Baskin is fuming somewhere in Florida. Perhaps the big question now is whether all this will lead to further episodes of the seemingly never-ending Tiger King saga.

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Tiger King
Tiger King

A docuseries about eccentric individuals involved in private tiger zoos, including the colorful and controversial former zookeeper Joe Exotic, who was sentenced to 22 years for hiring a hitman to kill his nemesis, Carole Baskin.

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