FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — One of four people charged alongside Myrtle Beach Safari owner and “Tiger King” star Doc Antle was arraigned in federal court Thursday on charges related to wildlife trafficking.
Meredith “Moksha” Bybee pleaded not guilty to a felony and a misdemeanor for the trafficking of two juvenile cheetahs. She faces up to five years in prison if convicted, depending on what the value of the animals is determined to be.
According to Deborah Barbier, the attorney who represented her in a special appearance, Bybee has worked for Myrtle Beach Safari for more than 20 years.
Court documents allege Bybee helped Antle traffic the endangered animals and falsify records about them in 2018.
Barbier said Bybee knew of the investigation for more than two years and did not try to run, so she should not be considered a flight risk.
Antle’s attorney, Ryan Beasley, told News13 that after Antle’s arraignment Wednesday he had questions about why the indictment focuses on crimes committed so long ago.
“It deals with the Lacey Act and some animal trafficking charges,” Beasley said. “These charges are from like four years ago. It makes you wonder why they waited four years to bring these charges.”
Assistant US Attorney Derek Shoemake told the judge he would defer to the court for decisions on Bybee’s bond, but pointed out she had disclosed using cannabis.
Barbier said Bybee had difficulty sleeping because of the investigation and would take legal delta 8 THC edibles to help, but would stop doing so immediately.
The judge granted Bybee a $30,000 unsecured bond, but said she would be allowed to leave the state for her job at Myrtle Beach Safari with prior authorization.
She is due back in court July 28 unless she retains an attorney.