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Myrtle Beach Safari owner Doc Antle charged with money laundering related to human smuggling

Doc Antle (left) and Omar Sawyer were arrested for money laundering. Photo credit: J. Reuben Long Detention Center.

Doc Antle, owner of Myrtle Beach Safari and The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.), in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has been charged with laundering more than $500,000.

According to a press release, Antle, 62, and his employee Andrew “Omar” Jon Sawyer, 52, laundered $505,000 cash that they believed to be the proceeds of an operation to smuggle illegal immigrants across the border.

Antle and Sawyer were arrested June 3 and are incarcerated at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Horry County. They will remain in jail until they go before a judge on Thursday. The U.S. Attorney's Office is asking for them to remain detained.

Also arrested Friday was William James Dallis.

William James Dallis, 55.

Dallis' charges have not yet been publicly announced. His Facebook page indicates he is the president of the nonprofit organization Hunting with a Hero. Dallis' page also contains several photos that appear to show him interacting with the animals at Myrtle Beach Safari.

Documents indicate Antle and Sawyer laundered the cash by providing checks for construction work at Myrtle Beach Safari, when in reality the checks were used to make it appear that the money was legitimate income. Antle also discussed plans to conceal the cash by inflating the number of visitors to Myrtle Beach Safari. He said in the past he used bulk cash receipts to purchase animals for which he could not use checks.

Antle was made famous in the hit Netflix series Tiger King. He also goes by "Mahamayavi" Antle. A follow up series called "The Doc Antle Story" focused on allegations that Antle participated in animal mistreatment, sexual abuse and violence.

In 2020, Antle was charged with nine counts of cruelty to animals, six counts of selling endangered species and two wildlife trafficking charges. Also indicted for animal cruelty and for violating the Endangered Species Act were Antle’s two daughters Tawny Antle and Tilakam Watterson. That case is scheduled for a trial later this year.

The same investigation led authorities to seize 119 animals from Keith A. Wilson of Wilson's Wild Animal Park in Virginia. Wilson received animals from Antle and was charged with wildlife trafficking and animal cruelty. Earlier this year Wilson was found guilty of 27 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. His nephew, Christian Dall’Acqua, was found guilty of 19 misdemeanor counts.

In April 2021, Myrtle Beach resident Shirley Ann Smothers was bitten by a primate that is believed to have escaped from Myrtle Beach Safari. After confirming to police that the primate was from his facility, Antle later denied the animal was his, suggesting that people were confused by what they saw. Smothers had to receive eight rabies shots due to the bite.

Smothers filed a lawsuit against Antle earlier this year, alleging that the animal bite traumatized her and caused her to experience anxiety and paranoia. Antle has asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

The latest charges against Antle and Sawyer carry up to 20 years in prison.


Download the indictment:

Download PDF • 1.56MB


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