BROOKSVILLE — Without the help of doctors, pharmacists or even a real drug prescription script, authorities said, Jeffrey Allen Ware was able to piece together a substantial narcotics ring that reached almost all corners of Central Florida.
And the scheme was pretty simple.
Ware created phony prescriptions for narcotics on a computer at his Weeki Wachee home, authorities said. He then had seven people he recruited bring the scripts to a number of pharmacies throughout Central Florida, where they would be filled. Ware paid his team of recruits and then sold the pills, authorities said.
"Ware was the so-called ringleader," said Citrus County Capt. Mike Richie. "He was the brains behind all of this."
Authorities on Wednesday gave more details about the arrests of Ware and six others, as well as one still sought, in connection with a prescription drug trafficking ring in Citrus and Hernando counties and elsewhere throughout Central Florida.
Ware, 33, was arrested Tuesday at his home at 11224 Snow Lark Ave. by Hernando County sheriff's deputies. He faces eight counts of trafficking in controlled substances and eight other drug-related charges, including attempting to acquire possession of a controlled substance by fraud, authorities said.
He remained in the county jail with bail set at nearly $4.3 million.
Others arrested on a number of drug-related charges in the multiagency sting are William Charles Volker, 34, of Spring Hill; Peter Michael Kelly, 39, of Hudson; Curtis Lee Keith, 26, of Spring Hill; Jeremy Newcomer, 27, of Spring Hill; Michael Thomas Brush, 45, of Homosassa; and James Guenther, 25, of Spring Hill.
Citrus deputies also want to track down Destiny Williams, 19, of Seminole. "We are actively looking for her," Richie said.
The Citrus County Sheriff's Office said investigators became aware of the ring sometime in May when one of the suspects went to get a prescription filled and a pharmacy worker became suspicious and alerted the authorities.
Since then, authorities have been investigating the activities of the drug ring. They said Ware's ring operated in a number of counties, including Hernando, Pasco, Hillsborough and Pinellas. This week's arrests, however, were based on seven transactions in Citrus County.
Authorities said Ware made up fake scripts at home, used the names of known doctors without their knowledge and accompanied his associates to pharmacies to fill the prescriptions. Once the associate got the drugs, Ware allegedly paid them and then sold the pills on the street.
Citing the ongoing investigation, authorities would not release the names of the doctors or pharmacies that were victimized by the ring.
"Having (Ware) off the street is a tremendous deal," said Citrus Detective Kenny Wear. "It's a big impact. It will keep a lot of pills off the street."
Ware was first taken into custody in this investigation on Aug. 4, when he was arrested by the Lady Lake Police Department on more than 40 drug-related charges. He was released from the Lake County Jail on Sept. 17.
If convicted on the Citrus County charges, Ware could face life in prison. Ware already has spent a lot of time behind bars, including four stints in state prison.
No one answered the door at his Weeki Wachee home on Wednesday afternoon.
Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Joel Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 754-6120.