GREENVILLE, S.C. (CBS Local) — The man who spent more than $500 in cash to buy 121 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies so two South Carolina girl scouts wouldn’t have to stand in the cold rain, has been arrested in a long-term federal drug investigation.
The story quickly went viral after Kayla Dillard, who manages cookie sales for Troop 1574, posted about the kind gesture on Facebook. She said the man spent $540 so the girls who were selling the goodies outside a Bi-Lo store in Mauldin could “pack up their cookies” and “get out of the cold.”
“What an amazing soul!!” Dillard wrote Friday on Facebook, posting a photo and a brief discussion about what happened. Dillard said the man didn’t give his name.
The post, which has since been deleted, was shared nearly 10,000 times in five days with people praising the thoughtful gesture by the mystery man.
By Tuesday morning, however, the mystery man, identified as Detric McGowan, was in the custody of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), accused of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. McGowan allegedly tried to import drugs from Mexico, CBS affiliate WPSA reported.
McGowan was named in eight charges, according to the indictment:
- Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.
- Conspiracy to import controlled substances.
- Conspiracy to commit bulk cash smuggling ($1,004,665.00).
- Interstate travel and transportation in aid of drug trafficking business.
- Possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin.
- Maintaining a drug-involved premise.
- Conspiracy to structure transactions to evade reporting requirement.
- Three counts of unlawful use of a communication facility.
The alleged criminal activities allegedly began “at least in or around 2016” and continued up until the date of the indictment. McGowan was one of eleven people indicted in the operation.
McGowan’s arrest was part of a long-term federal drug investigation that began in September 2018 and spanned out-of-state, DEA Resident Agent Mike Rzepczynski told WSPA.
McGowan was taken into custody at his home in a rural part of Laurens County, where cash and other assets were seized by U.S. Marshals, according to the local DEA. He faced a judge Tuesday afternoon, along with several others who were arrested in the operation.
McGowan remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals. A bond hearing was set for Friday.
Officials with the Girl Scouts of South Carolina-Mountains to Midlands issued the following statement:
“Nobody was hurt. Nobody was threatened. We had no reason to believe that this man was anything other than one of our valuable customers that is helping Girl Scouts power awesome experiences through the Girl Scout Cookie Program. This is now in the hands of law enforcement and of course we will cooperate with authorities.”