The one-time South Carolina Good Samaritan who bought US$540 in Girl Scouts cookies so the youngsters could pack up and “get out of this cold” was arrested as part of a lengthy federal drug investigation.
On Tuesday, the feel-good story of how the man dropped more than $500 on cookies that a Girls Scouts troop was peddling outside of Greenville grocery store went viral, with many social media users praising the man’s good deed.
It started when mother and Girl Scouts “cookie manager” Kayla Dillard shared a photo on Facebook late last week, sharing an account of how the random stranger purchased the entire inventory so the girls wouldn’t have to stand out in the 1 C weather any longer.
“This man purchased seven packs of cookies. Gave the girls $40, told them to keep the change,” Dillard said in the now-deleted social media 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,’” Dillard said, noting the man dropped $540 on the addictive sweets. “What an amazing soul!”
The woman told CBS the Good Samaritan didn’t provide his name or say much about himself, other than he owns several businesses and he planned to take the cookies there.
“That man was just a very kind, sincere and humble man who loves children,” Dillard told CBS.
Turns out the man, now identified as Detric McGowan, was a subject in a long-term U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) investigation and was arrested on Tuesday, the same day the story about his massive cookie purchase went viral.
An indictment issued last week said McGowan, also known as “Fat,” is one of several suspects in an ongoing drug investigation. It says he and 10 other people allegedly 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.
In a statement to South Carolina TV station WSPA, the news outlet that first identified McGowan, Girl Scouts of South Carolina-Mountains said the organization had no reason to believe the man’s purchase was nothing more than a kind gesture.
“Nobody was hurt. Nobody was threatened,” the organization said. “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,” reads the statement.
McGowan was arrested on charges including conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and cocaine.
—with a file from the Associated Press