EBT Cards Used To Buy Drugs, IRCSO Says

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.


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  • Happens quite a bit; you knock back a dope house and you wind up finding lots and lots of EBT/Link cards. Ironically, welfare benefits were put on cards way back when in order to prevent this sort of thing.

    Now, for his sin of noticing things, Deryl Loar can now expect to be the target of a non-stop jihad from both Democrats, SJWs and #BlackLivesMatter.

    After all, who are you to be so bigoted as to expect the Bellcurvii of Indian River County, Florida to pay for their own dope, when we can do that for them? Because social justice.

  • DonReynolds

    Is there ANYONE who is surprised in this country? EBT cards are even sold on Craiglist for a fraction of their value for cash, when recipients are allowed to “misplace” their card FOUR times a year and get a full replacement by DHS (without penalty or question), when EBT cards (like the food stamps before) are used for gambling, paying hookers, buying cars…..and yes, paying for illegal drugs. News is supposed to be something new.

  • DonReynolds

    Of course, the EBT cards do not expire, as was the case with the food stamp program before. Anyone in the program can ACCUMULATE them. They never expire. Of course, they are like currency and can be factored (discounted) for real cash……an then used for stuff they cannot legally obtain with an EBT card……like cigarettes, liquor and beer, soap, pet food, gasoline, movie tickets, DVDs, and play the lotto.

    • IstvanIN

      In NJ benefits not used within 90 days are expunged.

      • In Colorado anyone receiving food stamp gibsmedat (EBT) benefits must perform free community service or else report to a sort of probation officer on a regular basis showing that they are trying to find work.

        • Reynardine

          Don’t worry, I’m sure the Democrats will soon be onto removing that stipulation.

          I loved how upset that Democrats in Colorado got when the Republicans suggested making it illegal to withdraw funds from pot-shop ATM’s with EBT cards.

          • BlueSonicStreak

            Wait, are you saying people can buy weed with EBT cards?! Jesus.

            The fact that people smoke that disgusting stuff AT ALL outside of use for pain management is bad enough without it being taxpayer-funded.

          • Reynardine

            Yes. The realities are that EBT’s can be used like ATM cards which utterly blows my mind. Who thought that was a good idea?!?

            EBT can be used to:

            To make purchases
            To make purchases and receive cash back
            To make cash-only withdrawals
            To purchase money orders

          • I have witnessed that cash-back EBT scam more than once.

          • Alden

            It would be racist and discriminatory to expect welfare slugs to walk a block or two from the 7-11 ATM to the pot shop

          • IBWHITE

            At one time you could use them at ATM machines in gambling casinos and strip clubs. I believe hurricane Katrina brought attention to the problem though.

        • DonReynolds

          I am sure, Mr. Scott…..you are aware that the Obama administration has already redefined the “work” expectation to include book reading, bed rest, helping a neighbor with household chores, etc.

        • Alexandra1973

          Here in Ohio there’s a similar stipulation for able-bodied adults with no dependents. I have a child who’s considered disabled (autism spectrum) so that doesn’t apply to me.

          My job, more or less, is to keep our home neat and raise my son to be a decent citizen.

          My EBT is for food only; I don’t receive cash benefits. I have to scratch my head at giving out “free” cash. Even so, I’m able to make that stretch and my freezer has plenty in it.

      • DonReynolds

        That is good to know. That means they can only have a maximum of 3 months of food on their card at any time. I would give them 30 days to use it or lose it. Their eligibility is based on a month and if they really did not need it (or use it) in the next 30 days, they should be expunged.

  • Luca

    C’mon people, have a heart. How else can those ‘less fortunate’ buy their drugs and booze?

  • Vito Powers

    Instead of making a case against the fraud and abuse with EBT cards, Earned Income Tax Credits, Child Care Tax Credits, and bogus id documents, the jackass Republicans would rather bloviate about “entitlement reform”. You know, those programs like Social Security and Medicare that benefit seniors and aging baby boomers (also know as “white people”). The Republicans are just as guilty as Democrats for wanting to “spread the wealth”, only for them it’s taking from the white middle class to give to minorities and immigrants.

    • John Smith

      Republicans take to give to corporations, which then give jobs to minorities and immigrants, rather than the white middle class.

  • Hilis Hatki

    Were they the Gold, Platinum or just the normal EBT?

  • RacialRay

    EBT cards, the new coin of the (negro) realm.

    Sooner or later, one of the undertow’s leading lights is going to link the advent of the EBT card with the plague of lawlessness that today defines black American life, and accuse some benign government agency of deliberate malice in creating it.

    You can’t even do these creatures a favor without them biting the hand that literally feeds them.

    • InAFreeCountry

      Ebonic Bitcoin Transfer?

  • Hammerheart

    I thought all the EBT would go to hardworking African American familes with future astronauts and rocket surgeons

  • John Smith

    Other places, they just buy detergent or soda and trade that for drugs, either directly, or back to the merchants that sold it for cash, at a discounted price.

  • Matthew Mattp

    I think this journalist got it backwards as for the discount involved. “The Sheriff said dealers give buyers a discount when using EBT cards,” the article claims, “since they are better than cash.” However, there is no reason why anyone would think EBT cards are better than cash. They are obviously less convenient than cash, since they can only be used to buy food (or pop, and other junk which is not exactly food). Plus, people have to make sure they know how much is on their card, and not spend more than is on the card. Thus, if people want to sell a gift card or an EBT card, they are likely to offer a discount, such as selling a card with a hundred bucks on it for eighty bucks or something. Or, someone might trade an EBT card with thirty or so bucks on it for twenty dollars worth of weed, or whatever.

  • ShermanTMcCoy

    But can you pay for your Starbucks with one?

  • Earl Turner

    Real Welfare Reform:

    Harsh penalties for crime and fraud. First offense, loss of all welfare for 6 months. Second offense, 1 year. Third offense, lifetime ban, no exceptions. This applies to all offenses by both the recipient as well as all dependent minor children.

    SNAP (food stamps) only accepted at state-run distribution facilities and farmers markets and only for basic nutritional foods.

    Section 8 immediately ended. Return to the old public housing projects, so that the crime and dysfunction and general negro behavior can be contained and kept away from law abiding hardworking taxpaying citizens. Public housing will be military style barracks, with the residents assigned tasks to keep the facilities clean and maintained. That includes grounds maintenance. No more using taxpayer dollars to pay lawn maintenance companies to do what the lazy tenants should be doing themselves.