Jana Eschbach, CBS 12 (Wabasso), March 16, 2015
The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office says career criminal Anthony Wheeler, 44, is not the first accused drug dealer detectives found taking payment for drugs with taxpayer-funded electronic benefit cards.
But the Sheriff says the abuse of the benefit cards seems to be getting worse, and the cards are too easily transferable from person to person.
“Primarily you are looking at taxpayers’ dollars that provide EBT cards, that are ultimately buying drugs,” said Sheriff Deryl Loar, Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
“It appears there’s a discounted transaction when you trade in your EBT card for some type of illegal drugs.”
The Sheriff said dealers give buyers a discount when using EBT cards, since they are better than cash.
At this latest bust at Wheeler’s home Detectives confiscated 18 EBT cards issued in various names, in his possession.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, as the S.W.A.T. Team entered the premises, Wheeler was observed with a Nestle Quick bottle in his hand.
Detectives determined that the bottled contained 97 grams of heroin and 13 grams of powder cocaine in a false bottom.
The search also yielded .6 grams of crack cocaine, 18 grams of marijuana, $1,308.00 of drug money, $250.00 of unused gift cards, 18 Electronic Benefit Transfer (E.B.T.) cards commonly known as food stamp cards issued in various names, two flintlock firearms, three realistic looking air soft handguns, and one realistic looking air soft rifle.