Man who bought $540 of cookies to save Girl Scouts from cold weather revealed as major drug dealer

Man who bought $540 of cookies to save Girl Scouts from cold weather revealed as major drug dealer

One act of kindness between a good samaritan and a pair of Girl Scouts selling cookies soon turned into a viral story last month, with thousands sharing the heartwarming tale. Emerson and Maya were selling cookies on a cold night, outside a grocery store in Greenville, South Carolina, when their evening was greatly improved by a passing man.

The unnamed stranger bought seven boxes, which amounted to $40, telling them to keep the change. In a since-deleted Facebook post, Karyla Dillard explained that he then returned to the table, telling them to "Pack up all of your cookies. I'm taking them all so y'all can get out of this cold."

According to Dillard, he eventually spent $540 on cookies, as she shared on the social media post - along with a photo of the man alongside the two girls. "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."

At the time, the man went unidentified, but that soon changed. Now we know the helpful stranger to be Detric McGowan, although he has made the news for something far less wholesome. McGowan was recently arrested on federal drug charges, with authorities taking him in on Tuesday morning. These charges include conspiracy to manufacture and distribute heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl.

The released indictment reveals that along with 10 others, McGowan conspired to import drugs from Mexico into the United States, and that when the group was arrested, over $1 million in cash was confiscated.

The Girl Scouts have said that they were saddened to discover "the unfortunate turn of events in South Carolina". It is unclear whether the money he gave them is now linked to the case, or whether they'll have to give it over to the authorities due to its connection to his operation. In a statement, the organisation concluded:

"We want to assure the public that all of our girls are currently safe, that all proper safety protocols were followed during the sale, and that at no time were any of our girls or volunteers threatened.

"The troop had no way of knowing who they were dealing with, and every reason to assume a good Samaritan wanted to help power amazing Girl Scout experiences through the Girl Scout Cookie Program."

An official from the DEA confirmed that the release of the viral photo was coincidentally taken close to the date of the arrest, and played no part in identifying the suspect. McGowan was arrested at his home in Laurens County, South Calrolina, after a grand jury case began investigating in 2018. In addition to his arrest, cash and other assets were seized from the defendant.

McGowan has been reportedly charged with eight drug-related counts, including conspiracy to import controlled substances, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and the distribution of heroin.