HUDSON — Authorities say Arde Olsen, 51, called himself the King of Hudson.
On Friday morning, the king, his queen, his prince and 16 alleged minions were arrested on charges of running an oxycodone drug ring.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says Olsen was the ringleader of a group that collected prescriptions and resold oxycodone, a highly addictive painkiller and popular recreational drug.
An investigation into Olsen's suspected drug business began a year and a half ago, Pasco Sheriff Bob White said. The Sheriff's Office worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration as well as local and federal agencies on "Operation Oxy Express."
Authorities say Olsen ran the trafficking operation out of his auto repair shop at 11923 Pine Forest Drive in Hudson. The U.S. Attorney's Office said the organization used a "doctor shopper," who goes from to doctor to doctor getting prescriptions with false medical complaints.
The oxycodone would then be parceled out to distribution cells throughout Tampa Bay, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
State records say Arde Olsen, who also goes by Arne, was arrested four times during the 1990s on marijuana charges. His latest arrest prior to the drug ring indictment came in 1997, on charges of firing a weapon in public in Pinellas County.
Shannon Star Olsen, 45, who married Arde in 2002, has no prior arrests. The couple live on Family Trail in Hudson.
Friday's arrest is the 14th for Arde Olsen's son, Jason Michael Olsen, 24. His previous charges include stealing a stop sign, burglary and weapon charges.
The Olsens and the other 16 indicted this week face numerous drug charges. Each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
All of the suspects were believed to be living in Pasco County, where people are arrested, usually at least once a day, every day, on charges related to oxycodone: writing false prescriptions for it, breaking into pharmacies for it, selling it.
White said those arrested Friday were "putting the whole community at risk."
He said the abuse of prescription drugs is an intense problem in the county and he is proud of the work his detectives did, as well as the work of other agencies involved. White said they worked with the DEA so they could make federal charges.
"The penalties and forfeitures are so much greater" in federal court, White said.
Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Erin Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com.