Ice Cream Vendor Accused Of Distributing Cocaine
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Investigators say a store’s ice cream trucks were selling more than chocolate chip or strawberry as they drove, bells tinkling, through Columbia neighborhoods.
Richland County Sheriff Frank Powell said Monday his deputies raided the Mr. Yummy’s Ice Cream store late last week and found 15 grams of cocaine - about $3,000 worth.
Hugh Miller Gill, 39, of Chester, and Marie Ann Spradley, 27, of Columbia, were arrested on charges of cocaine trafficking. Gill also was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
Gill is the owner and manager of Mr. Yummy’s, and Ms. Spradley is a store employee.
The store served as the distribution point for at least five ice cream vending trucks, said Lt. Leon Lott, chief of the narcotics division. It also was a retail ice cream shop and video arcade.
″We suspect they were selling at the store and also through the trucks,″ Lott said.
Mr. Yummy’s Ice Cream is a tradename of My Yummy’s Inc., which was incorporated in Columbia last year, according to Dun’s Market Identifiers, a corporate directory. The directory describes My Yummy’s as a wholesale distributor of ice cream with Gill listed as president of the company.
Lott said several sources, including young children, have told deputies that they suspected cocaine was being sold.
Neither Powell nor Lott cited specific cases of children receiving cocaine from a Mr. Yummy’s truck, but Powell said ″we just have to assume that the kind of people that kind of business deals with is youth ...″
Gill and Ms. Spradley were freed on bond. Trafficking in cocaine carries a possible sentence of at least three years but no more than 10, and a fine of $10,000, according to Lott.