A food stamp fraud investigation landed five people in Darlington and Florence counties in jail.
Investigators in both counties as well as the US Department of Agriculture, who assisted in the case, say the operation began in December 2010 after authorities learned that EBT cards were being exchanged for drugs, cash and unauthorized non-food items.
According to police, Rodney Douglas, 35, was operating stores out of two separate mobile home parks in the two counties were drugs, and the other items were being sold. Singlewide trailers were reportedly turned into a makeshift stores.
Agents say people with EBT cards purchased the drugs, alcohol and other unauthorized items, even receiving cash back from the makeshift stores. Officials add that the operation possibly netted more than $20,000 per month.
Douglas is facing a slew of charges including distribution of crack cocaine, distribution of cocaine, distribution of marijuana, food stamp fraud, unlawful sale of alcohol, and criminal conspiracy. Police point to him as the leader of the alleged scam. Douglas is in jail on a $250,000 bond.
Others arrested in the fraud bust include Taquila Comer, 20, who was charged with possesion with the intent to distribute marijuana, food stamp fraud, illegal sale of alcohol, and criminal conspiracy.
Chanel Comer, 19, is charged with possesion with the intent to distribute marijuana, food stamp fraud. Timothy Charles, 28, was charged with distribution marijuana, food stamp fraud, illegal sale of alcohol, and criminal conspiracy. Adriana Pitts, 19, possesion with the intent to distribute marijuana, and food stamp fraud.
Police say all were assisting in operating the makeshift stores.
This case is still under investigation, and more arrests are expected.