Bhagavan ‘Doc’ Antle from Netflix’s popular Tiger King series has plead guilty to the charges of animal trafficking and money laundering, admitting he oversaw the illegal sale of endangered animals.
Antle rose to fame in the 2020 lockdown-era documentary and was even the subject of the lesser watched third season, The Doc Antle Story. It focused on how Antle competed with Baskin and Exotic in the trade of rare species, and how his organisation was run like a cult.
The 63-year-old now faces up to five years in prison for animal trafficking, after pleading guilty to overseeing the sale of lion cubs, tigers, cheetahs, and a baby chimpanzee — which are all protected as endangered species.
Officials say he attempted to cover up the payment for these animals by disguising them as donations to his organisation, The Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS).
“The defendant held himself out as a conservationist, yet repeatedly violated laws protecting endangered animals and then tried to cover up those violations,” United States Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim said in a press release.
“This prosecution demonstrates our commitment to combatting illegal trafficking, which threatens the survival of endangered animals.”
Antle faces a fine of up to $250,000 USD.
Antle isn’t the first Tiger King star to find himself on the wrong side of the law. Season one’s breakout star, Joe Exotic, is currently serving a 21-year sentence for hiring two hitmen to kill competitor Carole Baskin.