SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WYFF) - An Upstate man who made national headlines after purchasing hundreds of dollars of Girl Scout cookies, pleaded guilty in federal court after offering his cellmate $10,000 to kill a prosecutor and witness, according to United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon.
Lydon said Detric McGowan, aka “Fat,” 46, of Piedmont pleaded guilty to participation in a drug conspiracy involving cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and tramadol; possession of a kilogram or more of heroin with the intent to distribute; conspiracy to launder money; obstruction of justice/witness tampering; and obstruction of justice/retaliation, according to WYFF in Greenville.
McGowan was arrested just days after he purchased more than $500 worth of Girl Scout cookies from an Upstate troop, according to Drug Enforcement Administration officials.
A photo of his kind gesture posted on Facebook went viral.
Beginning as early as 2016, law enforcement in Greenwood County began to see a rise in the number of opioid-abuse related cases, drug overdose deaths and overdose nonfatalities attributed particularly to heroin and fentanyl toxicity, Lydon said.
Commonly found at the opioid overdose incidents and routinely seized by local law enforcement were counterfeit, 30 milligram, blue prescription pain pills laced with heroin and/or fentanyl and scored with a “V” on one side and “4812” on the other side, Lydon said.
According to Lydon, following an investigation, law enforcement determined that McGowan, working with others, was a member of a drug trafficking organization operating in the Upstate, primarily in Laurens and Greenwood counties.
The organization was responsible for the distribution of in excess of $1 million worth of heroin, cocaine and/or fentanyl in the Upstate and elsewhere, Lydon said.
Police seized in excess of 20 kilograms of heroin and approximately $1 million during the investigation, Lydon said.
Lydon said McGowan was indicted along with several co-conspirators in February and taken into custody.
Recently, McGowan began to talk with his cellmate about having his prosecutor and at least one witness killed, Lydon said.
McGowan's cellmate alerted law enforcement to the threat. McGowan was recorded agreeing to pay his cellmate $10,000 to kill the prosecutor and witness and provided information about how to find the targets, Lydon said.
Lydon said McGowan also provided a telephone number and wrote down the name of the witness so that upon release, his cellmate could carry out the plan. McGowan confessed to the FBI of the plot that he had put in motion.
On the drug and obstruction counts, McGowan faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a maximum of life, Lydon said.
The remaining suspects in the case are awaiting trial.