Following a McDonald's employee's arrest Wednesday for allegedly selling Heroin Happy Meals out of the restaurant's drive-thru in Pittsburgh, officials confirmed yesterday a link to a second bust. The Allegheny County district attorney's office said two McDonald's restaurants, one in Allegheny County and the other in Westmoreland County, where undercover narcotics officers purchased heroin from employees, have the same owner.
Spokesman for the D.A.'s office Mike Manko said however, that investigators do not believe the franchise owner was aware that heroin was being sold out of his restaurants, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Jan. 30.
Iftikhar Malik, listed as the president of Malik Enterprises, owns the two McDonald's restaurants where the heroin busts went down. "We have no indication that the owner was aware of the activity at either restaurant and neither suspect has implicated the owner in their behavior," Manko said.
Shantia Dennis, 26, was arrested Wednesday after undercover agents purchased heroin from her, while she was working at an East Liberty neighborhood McDonald's drive-thru in Pittsburgh, according to WPXI News 11.
Cops recovered 10 stamp bags of heroin inside the Happy Meal box. Another 50 bags were found on Dennis, according to Manko. Police made a controlled buy after reportedly receiving a tip from another McDonald's employee.
On Jan. 14, officers also received a tip that heroin was being sold out of a McDonald's in Murrysville. After another controlled buy, this time in the parking lot, officers arrested 28-year-old employee Theodore Levon Upshaw.
In the Dennis case, 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 drive to the first window.
There they'd exchange their money for a Happy Meal box containing heroin, and exit without stopping at the second window. Investigators say Dennis' alleged drug deals were even more appalling because she was using a children's Happy Meal box to sell the potentially lethal drugs.
Gregory Geppert of Swissvale police noted it's possible that the heroin could have ended up in the hands of a child, with very dangerous results.
Media outlets were unable to reach owner Iftikhar Malik as of Thursday evening.
Mr. Manko said there is no indication that Dennis and Upshaw even knew each other.