Man who bought $540 of cookies to save Girl Scouts from cold weather turns out to be a major drug dealer

Man who bought $540 of cookies to save Girl Scouts from cold weather turns out to be a major drug dealer

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The life of a Girl Scout cookie seller can be surprisingly fraught with peril. Wondering the streets of America’s major cities can be dangerous at the best of times. The situation only worsens when you’re 10 years old and four feet tall. This means that the nation’s favourite purveyors of charitable sweet treats often have to rely on the kindness of strangers to get the job done.

Last week, a story emerged that seemed to prove that some of us are still prepared to go out of our way to lend a hand. On February 21st, CNN reported that a South Carolina man decided to spend over $500 of his own money, after he spotted two Girl Scouts trying to flog their stock in 34-degree weather (about 1 degree celsius, for those of us who have long since grown fed up with fahrenheit).

Initially, the man approached the girls’ stand and bought seven boxes, worth about $40, and told them to keep any change. However, he returned after a few minutes, instructing the scouts to "Pack up all of your cookies. I'm taking them all so y'all can get out of this cold." In total, the mysterious Samaritan spent around $540 saving the Girl Scouts from a long evening in the Carolina chill.

At first glance, this looked like a heart-warming tale of goodwill and winter spirit. Speaking to CNN after the stranger had left, Cookie Manager Kayla Dillard told CNN, "What an amazing soul. It was about 34 degrees outside that night and we were there for about two hours already before he came," before adding, “We all were shocked. The girls were very excited and thankful." However, despite the touching headlines, further reporting has revealed some slightly unnerving details about the cookie-loving do-gooder.

According to multiple reports from news outlets including The New York Post, the US Drug Enforcement Agency claim to have identified the man who bought the cookies as 46-year-old Detric Lee McGowan. The agency have also stated that the same McGowan was arrested on Tuesday, and charged with crimes including conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and cocaine.

An indictment issued by the department states that McGowan - who is also known as “Fat” - is currently “one of several suspects in an ongoing drug investigation.” The indictment accuses McGowan and around 10 other individuals of conspiring to illegally traffic drugs across the Mexican border towards the end of 2018. They added that they are still searching for one of the suspects.

While it was no doubt a relief to take McGowan’s generosity at face value, the $500 may not have been so welcome with hindsight. Unsurprisingly, the vice president of recruitment and marketing for Girl Scouts of South Carolina-Mountains to Midlands, Karen Kelly, was quick to point out that the girls had no reason to believe the man was “anything other than one of our valuable customers.” The organisation have since said that they intend to cooperate fully with authorities.