Man Arrested After Buying $540 in Girl Scout Cookies

February 27, 2019 Updated: February 27, 2019

GREENVILLE, S.C.—A South Carolina man who bought more than 120 boxes of Girl Scouts cookies to help the scouts escape the cold has been arrested on drug charges.

News outlets report the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency says 46-year-old Detric Lee McGowan was arrested on Feb. 26, on charges including conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and cocaine. The agency says McGowan is the same man who appeared in a photo that garnered thousands of views and shares online.

Mother Kayla Dillard had shared the photo on Facebook, saying the man paid $540 in cash for all the girls’ cookies so they could escape the cold outside a store near Greenville, South Carolina. She said she didn’t get the man’s name.

An indictment issued last week says McGowan, also known as “Fat,” is one of several suspects in an ongoing drug investigation. It says he and 10 other people conspired to import drugs from Mexico in late 2018. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says authorities are still searching for one of the suspects.

The 11 defendants are accused of conspiracy to import and possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl, according to a grand jury indictment (pdf).

The group schemed to import the drugs from Mexico and distribute them throughout the Carolinas and other states.

According to authorities, McGowan is also suspected of trying to smuggle more than $1 million in cash out of the United States.

The scheme started in 2016.

The amount directly attributable to McGowan himself was 1 kilogram or more of a drug mix containing a detectable amount of heroin, 5 kilograms or more of a mix containing cocaine, and 400 grams or more of a mix containing fentanyl. During the investigation, McGowan and another defendant allegedly deposited tens of thousands of dollars into a bank.

In a statement sent to WYFF, the Girl Scouts of South Carolina Mountains to Midlands said the girls’ interaction with McGowan didn’t place anyone in danger.

“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,” it said. “This is now in the hands of law enforcement and of course we will cooperate with authorities.”

Girl Scouts sell cookies in this 2013 file photo
Girl Scouts sell cookies in this 2013 file photo. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

McGowan was being held at a Spartanburg County detention center. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

Greenville is about 140 miles northeast of Atlanta.

NTD News Reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.