Mugshot for Joe Exotic. (Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office in Florida)
Grand Jury Indicts “Joe Exotic” for Murder-For-Hire
OKLAHOMA CITY – JOSEPH MALDONADO-PASSAGE, also known as Joseph Allen Maldonado, Joseph Allen Schreibvogel, and “Joe Exotic,” 55, formerly of Wynnewood, Oklahoma, has been indicted on two counts of hiring a person to commit murder.
On September 5, 2018, a federal grand jury returned an indictment that accuses Maldonado-Passage of hiring an unnamed person in November 2017 to murder “Jane Doe” in Florida. According to the indictment, Maldonado-Passage gave the unnamed person $3,000 to travel from Oklahoma to South Carolina and then to Florida to carry out the murder. He allegedly agreed to pay thousands more after the deed. The indictment alleges Maldonado-Passage caused the person to travel to Dallas to get fake identification for use in the plot. According to the indictment, the person traveled from Oklahoma to South Carolina on November 26, 2017.
In a second count, the indictment alleges that beginning in July 2016, Maldonado-Passage repeatedly asked a different unnamed person to find someone to murder Jane Doe in exchange for money. The second person put Maldonado-Passage in contact with an undercover FBI agent. Maldonado-Passage met with the undercover agent on December 8, 2017, to discuss details of murdering Jane Doe.
Jane Doe did not suffer any physical harm.
Today Joe Schreibvogel Maldonado-Passage, aka “Joe Exotic,” was arrested after being indicted by a Federal Grand Jury on two counts of “murder for hire” for seeking to hire someone to murder Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue. Maldonado had made threats online over a period of years including a video of him shooting in the head a blow up doll dressed to look like Carole and an image hanging her in effigy.“It is important to understand that this is not the isolated act of one crazy bad apple,” Baskin said. “A significant part of our mission has been to stop mistreatment and exploitation of big cats at roadside zoos, particularly those who rip tiger cubs from their mothers at birth to charge the public to pet and take photos with them. Because Big Cat Rescue has been a leader in working to stop what we view as abuse of big cats and been very effective in our work, I have received multiple death threats over the years, including at one point a number of snakes placed in my mailbox. According to the FBI, animal abuse is highly correlated with human-to-human violence.”Maldonado ran, in our view, one of the most notorious cub petting roadside zoos in the country in Wynnewood, OK. Years ago he also operated a traveling exhibit that would bring cubs to malls throughout the Midwest and Southwest. When Big Cat Rescue educated the malls about the miserable life this created for the cubs and the malls started cancelling Maldonado’s traveling exhibit, Maldonado retaliated by renaming his traveling show “Big Cat Rescue Entertainment” in order to confuse the public into thinking the show was operated by Big Cat Rescue. In 2011 Big Cat Rescue sued for violations of its intellectual property rights and in 2013 was granted a consent judgment for over $1 million. Litigation to collect on the judgment has been ongoing since then in Oklahoma.We are ENORMOUSLY grateful to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the FBI, the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Oklahoma and the U.S. Marshall's Service for the many months of incredibly hard work that went into this investigation and arrest.
Posted by Big Cat Rescue on Friday, September 7, 2018
The U.S. Marshals Service arrested Maldonado-Passage today in Gulf Breeze, Florida. He will make his initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge today in the Pensacola Division of the Northern District of Florida, followed by further proceedings in the Western District of Oklahoma.
If Maldonado-Passage is found guilty of murder-for-hire, he could be imprisoned on each count up to ten years. He would also be subject to up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 per count.
This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement and the FBI, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amanda Green and Charles W. Brown are prosecuting the case.
The public is reminded that these charges are merely allegations and that Maldonado-Passage is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Reference is made to court filings for further information.
WE WANT TO THANK ALL THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE DEDICATED THEIR LIVES TO KEEPING OUR COUNTRY SAFE.