Girl Scout cookie buyer arrested in drug bust, officials say

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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 Tuesday 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 vice president of recruitment and marketing for Girl Scouts of South Carolina-Mountains to Midlands, Karen Kelly, says the organization will cooperate with authorities. She says in a Tuesday statement that the organization had no reason to believe McGowan was "anything other than one of our valuable customers."

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

Greenville is about 140 miles (225 kilometers) northeast of Atlanta.


Previous story by CNN:

It was a chilly winter night in Greenville, South Carolina and Emerson and Maya were on Girl Scout duty selling cookies outside a store.

At one point, a man approached the stand and bought seven boxes of cookies worth $40, and told them to keep the change, according to cookie manager Kayla Dillard.

Then, he went 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 in a Facebook post. He spent $540 on cookies, she said.

"What an amazing soul. It was about 34 degrees outside that night and we were there for about two hours already before he came," Dillard told CNN.

    "We all were shocked. The girls were very excited and thankful."

    Dillard said she does not know the good Samaritan. But his act of kindness surely earned him a place in the girls' hearts for a long time.