TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - He's been convicted of more than a dozen counts of animal cruelty and for conspiring to kill a woman, but Joe Maldonado-Passage, the man now famously known as Joe Exotic, is reportedly among the inmates being quarantined for the COVID-19 virus in a Fort Worth prison.
In an exclusive interview with "Variety Live!" Maldonado-Passage's 4th husband, Dillon Passage, said the Netflix star is in quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus at a prison in Oklahoma. Health insurance laws prevent any information being released about Joe Exotic's current medical status, but Dillon said he did not believe his husband actually has the virus.
The true crime documentary "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness" was released on Netflix late last month and centers around Joe Exotic, a tiger breeder who operated the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, about 65 miles south of Oklahoma City.
The series followed the life of Maldonado-Passage, who described himself as a "gay, gun-toting cowboy with a mullet," as he operated the zoo that had nearly 200 big cats.
The murder and mayhem portion of the show involved the 57-year-old's feud with animal rights activist Carole Baskin, who owns the Florida sanctuary "Big Cat Rescue", and for years worked to get Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, also known as the G.W. Zoo, shut down. That volatile relationship came to a head in 2016 when Maldonado-Passage plotted to have Baskin killed.
During the course of the investigation officials with the Department of Justice alleged Joe Exotic also, "...falsified forms involving the sale of wildlife in interstate commerce, killed five tigers in October 2017 to make room for cage space for other big cats, and sold and offered to sell tiger cubs."
Ultimately Maldonado-Passage was found guilty of two counts of murder-for-hire and 17 wildlife abuse-related offences. He was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison.
As far as Joe Exotic's COVID-19 status, Dillon Passage said he hasn't been able to speak to his husband since he was moved to the facility in North Texas and apparently transferred to the Federal Medical Center and placed in isolation.
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