Sheriff: Federal 'EBT' Cards 'Ultimately Buying Drugs'

Eric Scheiner | March 17, 2015 | 2:22pm EDT
Font Size

"Primarily you are looking at taxpayers’ dollars that provide EBT cards, that are ultimately buying drugs," said Sheriff Deryl Loar, of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.

Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (EBT) allow individuals receiving government benefits such as food stamps to charge products to the government when they shop.

The Indian River County Sheriff's Office tells WPEC-TV that career criminal Anthony Wheeler is not the first accused drug dealer found taking payment for drugs with taxpayer-funded electronic benefit cards.

According to a WPEC-TV report on Monday, a search at Wheeler’s Wabasso home yielded heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana and 18 EBT cards issued in various names.

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.

"It appears there's a discounted transaction when you trade in your EBT card for some type of illegal drugs," Sheriff Loar told the station.

Ofiicals say dealers give buyers a discount when using EBT cards, since they are better than cash.

The EBT cards will be turned over to the state for further investigation.


mrc merch