Deputies: Food stamps may have been used to buy drugs

Indian River County officials said they believe a suspected drug dealer may have accepted food stamps as payment.

The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team and MACE narcotics unit executed a search warrant at a home in the 8400 block of 63rd Avenue in Wabasso and arrested Anthony Wheeler, 44.

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Sheriff Deryl Loar described Wheeler as a “tyrant” and “big player” in the local drug scene who sold heroin and cocaine.

Aside from cash and drugs, narcotics detectives found a stash of 18 EBT food stamp cards with various names.

In January, a drug raid in Gifford at a suspected black-market pharmacy also found EBT cards.

Investigators are working to determine if the EBT cards are stolen or if individuals were actually spending their food stamps on drugs instead of food.

State-issued EBT cards work like debit cards and are specifically meant to buy groceries.

Loar said it appears the dealers accept the EBT cards for a fraction of the cash value on the cards.


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