Man Who Gained Viral Fame For Buying $540 of Girl Scout Cookies Arrested in Federal Drug Bust
A South Carolina man who spent more than $500 on Girl Scout cookies in order to help the young sellers escape cold weather was arrested as part of a long-term federal drug investigation the same day his heartwarming story went viral.
Detric McGowan, 46, was one of 11 arrested Tuesday by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency as part of an investigation that launched last September, according to local CBS affiliate WSPA.
McGowan, who goes by the nickname “Fat,” reportedly faces multiple charges including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to import controlled substances.
Those substances allegedly included heroin, cocaine and fentanyl, according to the federal Grand Jury indictment obtained by Fox 8 Cleveland. McGowan is accused of trying to smuggle the drugs in from Mexico.
He is also one of four suspects accused of trying to smuggle more than $1 million in cash out of the U.S., according to local NBC affiliate WYFF.
The indictment alleges that from as early as 2016 up until February of this year, McGowan and others used a home in Mountville, S.C. to manufacture, store and distribute controlled substances containing a “detectable amount” of heroin and fentanyl.
On Tuesday, McGowan’s random act of kindness picked up steam on the internet.
Girl Scout leader Kayla Dillard wrote on Facebook that a man had approached her troop’s cookie stand in Greenville, S.C. and bought their entire inventory so they could get out of the cold weather.
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“This man purchased 7 packs of cookies. Gave the girls $40, told them to keep the change,” she wrote on the post. “Then he came back to the table and said ‘pack up all of your cookies. I’m taking them all so y’all can get out of this cold’ $540 he spent on cookies. What an amazing soul!!!!” she wrote in the Facebook post.
Dillard did not know the man’s identity, but told CNN it was just 34 degrees the night he bought the cookies.
“We were there for about two hours already before he came,” she told the outlet. “We all were shocked. The girls were very excited and thankful.”
McGowan was later identified by WSPA.
A spokesperson for the Girl Scouts of South Carolina Mountains to Midlands weighed in on the arrest in a statement to WYFF, saying the organization would cooperate fully with authorities.
“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,” the statement read. “This is now in the hands of law enforcement and of course we will cooperate with authorities.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of South Carolina did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
It was not immediately clear if McGowan has retained an attorney or entered a plea.