Detectives arrested Shantia Dennis after setting up a controlled buy at the East Liberty neighborhood McDonald's drive-thru, according to WPXI News 11 on Jan. 29.
Cops found 10 stamp bags of heroin inside the Happy Meal box and another 50 bags were recovered from Dennis, said Mike Manko, a spokesman for Allegheny County D.A. Stephen Zappala's office.
Another McDonald's employee at the location tipped off authorities that heroin was being sold by a worker at the restaurant. Cops said customers looking to buy heroin were told to go through the drive-thru and say, "I'd like to order a toy."
The customer would then instructed to drive to the first window. There they'd exchange their money for a Happy Meal box containing heroin.
Customers were charged $80 for the heroin and $2 for the fake Happy Meal. Manko said the drug customer would then exit without stopping at the second window.
That sequence of events was what likely drew suspicion from co-workers, as most people know you pay at the first window and stop at the second to retrieve your food order.
Dennis is the second McDonald's worker in the area over the last two weeks to be arrested for allegedly selling heroin on the job. The two cases are not believed to be related.
But investigators say Dennis' alleged actions were even more egregious because she was using a children's meal to sell the potentially lethal drugs.
"It's possible that this could have been given to somebody else with a child in the car who was legitimately buying a Happy Meal, and it could have been very dangerous for a child to get this heroin," said Gregory Geppert of Swissvale police.
When Dennis was asked by Channel 11 reporter Courtney Brennan if she was selling heroin out of the McDonald's, she replied, "No I was not."
Manko said it's not yet known how long the drug sales have been going on nor how many transactions already had taken place.