A man who went viral for a Girl Scout cookie haul before his arrest as the lead defendant in a Greenwood-linked drug ring has been ordered to forfeit his proceeds from selling narcotics.
The amount: $3,264,500.
Detric Lee “Fat” McGowan, 47, pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit money laundering under a plea agreement that dismisses more than 30 other charges. That agreement also stipulated he couldn’t contest forfeiture.
The 47-year-old also pleaded guilty to attempting to kill a witness and an assistant U.S. attorney after authorities learned he had tried to pay someone $10,000 to perform a hit on the prosecutor and the witness. He will be sentenced at a later date, but faces a prison term of at least 25 years and could receive a life sentence.
According to the Feb. 11 preliminary forfeiture order, authorities already have a quantity of money from the former Greenwood man. Agents seized $590,405 in cash from McGowan during the investigation and bank accounts totaling $49,037.24.
His house at 320 Scenic Lake Court in Piedmont was in foreclosure and the order said the government would get all surplus funds from the property’s sale. According to court filings, GrandSouth Bank was seeking to recoup $315,037.62 between fees and the outstanding balance on the mortgage. It was sold Thursday for $425,239.20, with the government being entitled to $110,201.58 of that sum.
The 6,490-square-foot house has five bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms, with an assessed fair market value of $641,710.
Also through forfeiture, the government seized a 2015 Toyota Sienna, a 2016 Nissan Maxima, a 2019 EZ-Go Clemson Tigers golf cart, a Jimenez Arms 25 pistol, five rounds PPU ammunition, an 18 karat yellow gold and stainless steel Rolex watch, and a stainless steel Rolex watch.
Of the 13 people indicted in the case, which included McGowan’s brother and his significant other, 12 have pleaded guilty and one has signed a Pretrial Diversion Agreement deferring prosecution. If that defendant successfully completes the diversion program, the charges will be dropped.
The investigation traces its roots to a series of drug buys in October 2017.
In a joint investigation, Greenwood police and State Law Enforcement Division officers bought more than 300 fentanyl pills across five controlled purchases.
Investigating the source for those pills led to what U.S. Drug Enforcement agents thought was a “drug trafficking organization.”
“Based on law enforcement sources of information, confidential source information, undercover law enforcement operations and an ongoing financial investigation, local law enforcement identified” four Greenwood-connected people “as distributors of significant quantities of cocaine and heroin and fentanyl,” prosecutors wrote in a motion for pretrial detention order.
Greenwood police said once they understood the scope of the operation, they referred the case to the DEA.
Court documents detail investigators tapping phones, planting a surveillance camera and undercover agents posing as representatives of a Mexican drug cartel while gathering the evidence used to indict 11 people in February, with two additional people being charged through a 46-count superseding indictment handed up in June.
Prosecutors say agents seized more than 20 kilograms of heroin during the investigation, which included raiding two suspected stash houses in Laurens County.