Greenville, SC – The Good Samaritan who bought up $540 worth of Girl Scout cookies so the two young girls selling them could get out of the freezing weather has been arrested for his alleged role in an international drug-smuggling conspiracy.
Although it was raining with temperatures just above freezing, the determined Girl Scouts set up shop outside a local grocery store to sell cookies on Monday evening, WHNS reported.
At one point, a man approached them and bought seven boxes for $40, and told them to keep the change, cookie manager Kayla Dillard told the news outlet.
A short while later, the same man returned.
“Pack up all your cookies,” he said, according to Dillard. “I’m taking them all so y’all can get out of this cold.”
The man handed over $540 for the 121-box inventory the Girl Scouts had remaining, then stopped to take a photo with them, WSPA reported.
Dillard posted the image to Facebook, and it quickly went viral.
"What an amazing soul,” Dillard told CNN. “It was about 34 degrees outside that night and we were there for about two hours already before he came."
She said that they did not know who the man was, but that the girls were very thankful for his generosity.
“He owns several businesses and [said] that he was going to take the cookies to the businesses,” Dillard told CBS News.
But the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) knew exactly who the mystery man was, and went to go pick him up the next day.
Detric McGowan was arrested by U.S. Marshals at his rural Laurens County home on Tuesday, the DEA said, according to WSPA.
According to a 21-page indictment, McGowan and 10 other suspects are accused of conspiring to manufacture and distribute fentanyl, heroin and cocaine.
Investigators said that the group has been manufacturing and storing drugs at a building in Laurens County since 2016, and that they have detected fentanyl and heroin inside that building.
McGowan, who goes by the alias of “Fat,” allegedly tried to smuggle drugs in from Mexico, and is also accused of trying to smuggle over $1 million out of the United States.
He has been charged with conspiracy to import controlled substances, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, interstate travel and transportation in aid of trafficking business, conspiracy to commit bulk cash smuggling, maintaining a drug-involved premise, possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin, conspiracy to structure transactions to evade reporting requirement, and three counts of unlawful use of a communication facility.
McGowan’s criminal history stems back to 1992, and lists offenses including possession of crack with intent to distribute near a school, drawing a weapon, assault, second-degree lynching, trafficking cocaine in proximity to a public park, and malicious injury to personal property, among others.
He is due in court for a bond hearing on Friday, WSPA reported.
The Girl Scouts of South Carolina Mountains to Midlands said they had no prior knowledge of McGowan’s criminal involvement, and that he did not threaten or harm the troopers during their encounter with him on Monday.
"Nobody was hurt. Nobody was threatened,” the group told WSPA in a statement. “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,” the statement read.
Dillard has removed the image of McGowan with the two Girl Scouts from her Facebook page, KTRK reported.