'Tiger King' 's Doc Antle Charged with Money Laundering in Connection with Alleged Human Smuggling Operation

Prosecutors allege Doc Antle and a business associate laundered $505,000 over a four-month period

Doc Antle's mug shot. Photo: Horry County Police Department

Federal prosecutors in South Carolina have charged Bhagavan "Doc" Antle with money laundering, PEOPLE confirms.

According to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office in South Carolina on Monday, the 62-year-old Antle — who owns South Carolina's Myrtle Beach Safari and gained fame after appearing in Netflix's docuseries Tiger King — allegedly laundered $505,000 in cash with his business associate, Andrew Jon Sawyer, 52, over the past four months.

Prosecutors said in the release that the money was believed to be "the proceeds of an operation to smuggle" undocumented immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Antle and Sawyer would launder the cash by providing checks" from their businesses, prosecutors wrote.

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"Those checks falsely claimed they were remitted for construction work being performed at the Myrtle Beach Safari, when in reality the checks were simply a means to allow the recipients to appear to have legitimate income."

The pair allegedly received a 15% fee for the money they laundered.

Per the release, Antle allegedly "discussed his plan to conceal the cash he received by inflating tourist numbers at the Myrtle Beach Safari, and that in the past he had used bulk cash receipts to purchase animals for which he could not use checks."

On Friday, Antle was arrested by the FBI and booked into a Horry County jail, PEOPLE previously reported.

He remains in custody. It wasn't immediately clear if he retained an attorney or entered a plea.

PEOPLE's request for comment from the Myrtle Beach Safari wasn't immediately returned.

If found guilty, Antle faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

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