Putting heroin in a Happy Meal box is how a 26-year-old McDonald’s employee was selling the drug at the drive-thru window. According to police, they have no indication that the owner of this McDonald’s store knew about the heroin Happy Meal scheme. Although this is the second McDonald’s owned by the same person in Pittsburgh with an employee caught selling heroin at the business this month, according to the Christian Science Monitor on Jan. 30.
Shantia Dennis would get an order for heroin over her cell phone. This would alert her to a customer coming to the drive-thru. Once her drug-buyer arrived at the McDonald’s drive-thru they used the code word, “I want to order a toy.”
Under cover police did this and then pulled up to the window and paid Dennis $82, which was $80 for 10 bags of the drug and $2 for the meal. She then put the heroin in a Happy Meal box and the undercover cops drove away with the drugs. So far Denis has not implicated anyone else working with her in this drug-buying scheme.
Police had gotten wind of this operation and they went through the drive-thru armed with the password. They purchased the 10 stamped bags of heroin and arrested Dennis. They found another 50 bags of the drug in Dennis’ purse. The bags were stamped with the name “Nite Nite," followed by a racial slur.
Dennis was arraigned in court on Thursday and jailed for charges of criminal use of a cellphone, delivery of heroin, possession with intent to deliver heroin, and possession of heroin and marijuana.
Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood McDonald’s, where Dennis worked and was arrested, is owned by Iftikhar Malik. He also owns another McDonald’s franchise about 15 miles away from the store where Dennis worked. His McDonald’s in Murrysville was the site of another heroin sales arrest on Jan. 14, by an employee at this location.
Theodore Upshaw, 28, sold heroin to undercover police in the parking lot of the McDonald’s in Murrysville. He was arrested and charged with heroin sales. He remains in the Westmoreland County Prison waiting for his preliminary hearing on Feb. 4.
The corporate office issued a statement from Malik:
"As an employer and a member of the community, the safety of our guests and employees is our first priority. The allegations related to this employee do not represent acceptable behaviors and are not consistent with my values. As such, we take these charges very seriously and we are fully cooperating with the authorities. We are also conducting our own thorough internal investigation."
Police have no reason to believe that the owner was involved with his employees at either of the McDonald's locations where the heroin was sold. So far it looks as if both employees did this on their own and they don't appear to be working with anyone else.