Girl Scout cookie buyer arrested in DEA drug bust

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GREENVILLE  COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – The man in a viral photo who spent more than $500 cash to buy 121 boxes of Girl Scout cookies so two Girl Scouts wouldn’t have to stand in the rain, has been arrested in a long-term federal drug investigation.

Detric McGowan

Detric McGowan

The photo went viral quickly, garnering nearly 10 thousand Facebook shares in 5 days with people praising the thoughtful gesture.

7News set out to cover the act of kindess Tuesday, interviewing both of the scouts and the woman who took the photo. However, late in the afternoon, WSPA learned that the mystery man, identified as Detric McGowan, was arrested Tuesday morning by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

He is accused of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. McGowan allegedly tried to import drugs from Mexico.

According to the indictment, McGowan was charged with:

  • Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances,
  • Conspiracy to import controlled substances
  • Conspiracy to commit bulk cash smuggling ($1,004,665.00),
  • Interstate travel and transportation in aid of drug trafficking business,
  • Possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin,
  • Maintaining a drug-involved premise,
  • Conspiracy to structure transactions to evade reporting requirement 
  • Three counts of unlawful use of a communication facility.

Read the full indictment by clicking here.

According to the local DEA, McGowan was taken into custody at his home in a rural part of Laurens County, where cash and other assets were seized by U.S. Marshals.

Resident Agent Mike Rzepczynski of the DEA told 7News Reporter Kirsten Glavin over the phone that McGowan’s arrest was part of a long-term federal drug investigation that began in September 2018 and spanned out of state.

McGowan faced a judge Tuesday afternoon, along with several others who were arrested in this operation. 

We’re told he will have a bond hearing on Friday.

McGowan remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals.

Officials with the Girl Scouts of South Carolina-Mountains to Midlands issued the following statement to 7News on Tuesday:

“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.

This is now in the hands of law enforcement and of course we will cooperate with authorities.”

According to the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office, the Greenwood Drug Enforcement Unit began the operation in January 2017 when they discovered heroin and fentanyl pills pressed to appear to be pharmaceutical Oxycodone 30mg pills which were being sold on the streets of Geenwood.

As their investigation continued, deputies say they reached out to federal law enforcement agents help investigate the operation outside of Greenwood County.

The Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying, “We are very proud of hard work and dedication by the Drug Enforcement Unit. The collaboration of the two Departments is an asset to the community in which we live.”

Other people indicted in the operation include:

Donald Nathaniel Thomas, Jr.

Donald Nathaniel Thomas, Jr.
Christopher Jerome Cunningham

Christopher Jerome Cunningham
Richard Lamond Longshore

Richard Lamond Longshore
Trevor Maurice Hull

Trevor Maurice Hull

Donald Nathaniel Thomas, Jr., 36, of Greenwood

  • Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances
  • Conspiracy to Import Controlled Substances
  • Interstate Travel and Transportation in Aid of Drug Trafficking Business
  • Conspiracy to Commit Bulk Cash Smuggling
  • Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking
  • Possession of Cocaine
  • False Statement to Federal Agents
  • Two counts of Unlawful Use of a Communication Facility

Christopher Jerome Cunningham, 38, of Greenwood

  • Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances
  • Conspiracy to Import Controlled Substances
  • Conspiracy to Commit Bulk Cash Smuggling
  • Bulk Cash Smuggling
  • Unlawful Use of a Communication Facility

Richard Lamond Longshore, 46, of Greenwood

  • Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances
  • Maintaining a Drug-Involved Premise
  • Unlawful Use of a Communication Facility

Celest Henry Blocker, 67, of Fayetteville, NC

  • Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances
  • Interstate Travel and Transportation in Aid of Drug Trafficking Business
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Heroin
  • Unlawful Use of a Communication Facility

Eddie Lee Childs, Jr., 49, of Simpsonville

  • Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances
  • Interstate Travel and Transportation in Aid of Drug Trafficking Business
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Heroin
  • Unlawful Use of a Communication Facility

Trevor Maurice Hull, 51, of Greenwood

  • Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances
  • Interstate Travel and Transportation in Aid of Drug Trafficking Business
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Heroin
  • Unlawful Use of a Communication Facility

Danny Morales Lopez, 29, of Fayetteville, NC

  • Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances
  • Interstate Travel and Transportation in Aid of Drug Trafficking Business
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Heroin
  • Unlawful Use of a Communication Facility

Shequita Latoya Holloway, 34, of Greenwood

  • Possession of Cocaine
  • False Statement to Federal Agents

Lauren Brooke Poore, 35, of Piedmont

  • Conspiracy to Structure Transactions to Evade Reporting Requirement

There were also several charges for an suspect whose name was redacted from the indictments.

Holloway and Poore face up to 5 years in prison, a fine, plus a term of supervised release if found guilty. The rest of the defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

“[The indictment] is yet another example of the unwavering commitment of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina to disrupting and dismantling the flow of illegal opioids and other narcotics into our state,” said U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon.  

“As the opioid epidemic tightens its grip on families across America, we will continue to join with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to aggressively prosecute individuals who are peddling these dangerous and deadly drugs into our communities.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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