'Tiger King' Star Doc Antle Convicted in Wildlife Trafficking Case, Faces up to 20 Years in Prison

Bhagavan Antle
Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Antle faces up to 20 years behind bars.

Doc Antle is facing up to 20 years in prison after he was convicted in his wildlife trafficking case.

According to the Commonwealth of Virginia's Office of the Attorney General, a Frederick County jury convicted the embattled Tiger King star of two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and two felony counts of conspiring to wildlife trafficking. Antle is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 14, and faces up to 20 years behind bars. He remains free on bond.

The investigation into Antle began in 2019 after he was accused of illegally purchasing endangered lion cubs in Frederick County for display and profit at his zoo business in South Carolina. Antle was acquitted of five counts of animal cruelty charges and the judge tossed four additional animal cruelty charges against him, according to The Winchester (Va.) Star, which also reported that all charges against his two daughters -- Tawny Antle and Tilakum Watterson -- were dismissed.

"Virginia’s animal cruelty laws are not taken lightly by my office. I’m proud of my Animal Law Unit for their tireless work and I’m thrilled that the jury not only agreed with us but sent a message that Virginia does not tolerate wildlife animal trafficking," State Attorney Gneral Jason S. Miyares said in a statement.

Keith A. Wilson -- the owner of Wilson’s Wild Animal Park who allegedly worked with Antle -- had also been charged following an October 2020 indictment, but his cooperation and remorse paved the way for all 19 charges to be dropped, The Winchester Star also reported.

In a statement to ET at the time he was charged, Doc said he was "terribly shocked and disappointed at the charges." 

Antle, who spoke to ET in April 2020 about working with Britney Spears at the 2001 Video Music Awards, rose to fame after he was featured in Netflix's Tiger King documentary, which centered around Joe Exotic and his exotic animal park in Oklahoma. He's currently serving a 21-year sentence for the 2017 murder-for-hire plot to kill nemesis and Tiger King co-star, Carole Baskin